I’m going to make it clear that I have not seen Red 1. That shouldn’t affect me very much, right? Red 2 seems like one of those movies where it doesn’t matter whether it’s the first movie or the seventh (please don’t let it get to that).
What I got from hearing about Red 1 was that it’s your average stale action comedy about ex spies still being able to kick butt while making jokes about Ovaltine and dentures here and there. There’s nothing more we want to see than rad cool old people showing those youngsters they can still fight.
Okay, maybe they aren’t that old, but Bruce Willis and John Malkovich are old enough to at least have to worry about high cholesterol and hard falls.
The story starts in a nice suburban town where Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) are living quietly and under the radar. Frank is completely fine with a safe and normal life, but Sarah wants the action and adventure that she had experienced with Frank in Red 1. It gets her hot.
Enter Marvin (John Malkovich), and old friend and comrade of Frank, who is up to his seemingly usual LSD-induced paranoia hijinks. He warns frank of a very dangerous doomsday weapon that could be in the wrong hands and it’s all pitted on them. Frank shrugs him off because he wants a normal life, but Sarah pushes towards the adventure.
Almost instantly, the three become a most wanted target of the U.S. government. They have Frank tagged as R.E.D. (Retired and Extremely Dangerous), so they hire top contract killers (played by Neil McDonough and Byung-hun Lee) and even get MI6 in the action recruiting the gangs old friend Victoria (Helen Mirren) to hunt them down and kill them.
So they set off in search of finding the one person who could possibly find and defuse this bomb. As it turns out, it’s an old crazed scientist named Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) and he is clearly not quite right. And in this search for Bailey they encounter damn near all of the major secret agencies from the US government, to the MI6, to whatever the hell the Russians are up to.
The movie holds a lot of action, but it doesn’t really tie anything together or make it seem coherent. We see characters fight their way and straight up murder a whole crew of men with no sense of remorse. Not that they’re supposed to feel bad for killing people that are trying to kill them, but the actions scenes don’t seem to push the story any further.
Did I mention a story? You mean the part where they go from point A to point B and think: “hey, we should go to point C”. That’s about all we get. There are some obvious details to fill in that skeleton and twists we all saw coming, but it’s as goddamn basic as that. Was Red 1 like that?
The cast isn’t really trying. Why should they? It’s an easy paycheck for something that will probably be eaten up by the masses. If you’re Bruce Willis, all you have to do is be Bruce Willis, crack a joke, and have a really confused look on your face when Malkovich does something Malkovich’y. We love that shit.
John Malkovich plays John Malkovich as John Malkovich’y as he can. It almost seems like too much John Malkovich, but then he gives you more John Malkovich. Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich.
I don’t see the appeal for these movies. They’re forgettable and not entirely entertaining. The same rehashed stories we have seen a million times, just different faces.
Does Red 2 need to exist? Hell no. Why does it exist? Well there are probably hundreds of articles out there about Hollywood’s obsession with sequels and franchises to fill you in on that. Why bother creating something new and risky when you can milk the udder of the same cash cow for all it’s got? Money, money, money, baby.
I can’t say you should see this movie (but I also can’t say I’ve seen the first one). To me it’s just not right. It doesn’t need to exist. Sure, it’s supposed to be pointless and fun, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Are you really going to see Red 3?
Red 2 – 3/10