Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren
You may like this if you like: Red (Robert Schwentke, 2010), A Good Day to Die Hard (John Moore, 2013), The Expendables 2 (Simon West, 2012)
‘The best never rest’? Hardly, considering they seem to all be in a boredom induced 116 minute coma here.
Sometimes summing up the ‘plot’ of films is surprisingly difficult, but here goes: (Still) retired CIA operative Frank Moses (Willis, comatose) is trying to live a normal life with girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker, hyper), but the lack of danger is almost killing the passion in their relationship. Trust me, that is actually a pun that is funnier than anything in the actual film! After his best friend and fellow retired agent, Marvin (Malkovich, as whacky as ever) is ‘killed’, Frank discovers that he is now inexplicably one of the most wanted men in the world due to his apparent involvement in an operation called ‘Nightshade’. This was a potentially disastrous bomb built during the cold war by mad genius Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins, eccentrically posh English). Frank, Marvin and Sarah now travel to most capital cities in the world to find Edward while being hunted by MI6 agent from the first film Victoria (Mirren, basically The Queen with a gun) and hired assassin Han (Lee Byung-Hun, doing his GI Joe thing). They also encounter a Russian agent, and Frank’s ex Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones, ‘Russian’ apparently). Then they must save the world, prove their innocence, uncover the numerous levels of corruption while simultaneously avoid being killed while delivering clunky one liners and references to being old, and apparently travel across the entire world like some key stage 3 capitals of the world video!
When you genuinely struggle to describe the plot, then it does not say much for the actual film does it? Well, in this case the less description of the plot the better I would say. Red itself was a half decent romp made with little expectations, but enjoyable enough as those making it felt they had to at least make a little bit of effort. Despite there not exactly being a huge cry out for a sequel, here it is. They have kept the big names from number one and recruited some new faces, and basically believe that is enough to keep the accountants and studio bigwigs happy. This is a film that is made solely for money and I would strongly recommend against anyone parting with their hard earned money to pay to see this, and ultimately (I pray) avoid the funding of another one. I have a lot of time for unpretentious mindless action films, but Red 2 takes the biscuit as not only is it overlong and tremendously boring, it is an extremely cynical piece of cinema.
I remember when Bruce Willis used to be an actor. He can be witty, funny, extremely likeable and a believable action hero. That was a while ago, and here he seems more bored than ever before. He just seems happy to take the money here, which is basically an insult to film fans everywhere. Mary-Louise Parker puts a lot of effort into her role and her natural energy and enthusiasm is by far the best thing about this film. Malkovich is fine, but underused while Willis and everyone else might as well be on screen for 116 minutes (!) waving money in our faces with smug grins.
Sorry, a film review? Yes, of course! The plot is a complete mess that does not even try to make any real sense, and the film itself is way too long and boring. There are a plethora of subplots that are never very well thought out and certainly receive no real effort in either justification or resolution. At 116 minutes Red 2 clunks along at a very slow place and the dialogue is almost as wooden as the bored actor’s delivery of it. The surprisingly few action set pieces are uninspired and dull, and when you are begging for the film to just end it is seriously hard to care. There was all the potential here for this to be an enjoyable, tongue in cheek romp, but that would have required a bit of effort and passion from those involved.
Serving as yet another example of Hollywood as a complacent, offensive and soulless maths spreadsheet; Red 2 is a boring and insulting piece of absolute rubbish. I would personally implore anyone that has yet see it not to waste their money or time, and hopefully force Bruce Willis to appreciate why he is far wealthier than pretty much all of us!