Reel Reviews: Sequel pours on the action

Morning Star movie reviewers Taylor and Howe say Red 2 might even be more fun than the first.

  • Jul. 26, 2013 4:00 p.m.
Marvin (John Malkovich) hides for cover behind Frank (Bruce Willis) in Red 2.

Marvin (John Malkovich) hides for cover behind Frank (Bruce Willis) in Red 2.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is still coming to terms with being a retired black-ops agent. He spends his afternoons with his equally bored girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), trying to put together an ordinary life while shopping at Costco.

When a friend and former co-agent, Marvin (John Malkovich), fakes his own death (again), it coincides with some chatter in spy circles about a secret nuclear weapon from the past, thought to be impossible to create.

Known as “Nightshade,” the weapon is undetectable, portable and missing, with its creator, Dr. Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), either unwilling or unable to disclose its location, having spent the last 32 years in solitary confinement.

With the CIA, MI6, KGB and Iranian Intelligence Agency all believing that Moses knows where Nightshade is, he must find it first, if only to destroy it before they destroy him.

Friends such as not-so retired assassin Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Russian spy Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are convinced to help along the way, choosing to side with what’s right rather than with what’s profitable. However, the world’s greatest hit man, Han (Byung-hun Lee), might not be so easily convinced.

We say, “It might even be more fun than the first.”

HOWE: If you haven’t seen the first Red movie you are missing a treat, rent it or watch it online then go see Red 2. It is a blast of a movie: lots of action, some great acting, and some very funny moments.

It’s amazing how a good script and stellar cast can improve a film, just ask Mr. Willis about that train wreck Die Hard 8, or whatever it was, from last year and you’ll see what I mean.

TAYLOR: I think Red 2 stands well enough on its own, meaning you don’t necessarily need to see the first to enjoy the second, although the first is a fine movie and I certainly recommend it.

I took my son Terran, who is 17, to the film. He hadn’t seen the first. Terran enjoyed Red 2, and said it was funny and had lots of action (sometimes ridiculous.) This is true, there are some crazy, impossible stunts in this film, but we are, after all, dealing with comic book super assassins, whether or not they are “Retired: Extremely Dangerous.”

HOWE: There was some great banter between Willis and the ever fantastic Malkovich, and as the movie wore on, Malkovich just seemed to get a little more crazy (or was that sane? You just can’t tell with him.) To me he stole the whole film. With all this talent, I knew it would be a good movie, but I was surprised how poor Mr. Hopkins was compared to the rest.

TAYLOR: I didn’t have a problem with Hopkins playing the loony. It was silly, but much of the film was silly. It’s just a fun, little light-hearted flick about retired assassins trying to save the world. Seen as such, it succeeds.

— Taylor gives Red 2 3.5 patio sets out of 5.

— Howe gives it 3.5 bottles of wine out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column appears in The Morning Star Fridays and Sundays.