film review: Red 2 (2013)

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film review: Red 2 (2013)

I think it’s fair to say that RED was one of the more surprising films in film history to be based on a comic book. I have to admit, I barely remember it but I do recall that it seemed like a pretty standard action/spy comedy.

In fact it might be more fair to say that it’s hard to imagine that it’s particularly based on anything. Like I said, it’s a pretty standard story. You’d expect if it was based on something else it might have a few new ideas to it. The only new idea in RED was getting people who were… older than usual… to act in an action comedy. And I’m not even sure that that comes from the comic.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m not a huge fan of RED, it’s by-numbers cinema and by extension wasn’t particularly looking forward to RED 2.

That said, I wasn’t NOT looking forward to it. I remember the first RED being fine. It was entertaining enough. I’m almost certain I laughed. The cast were great, it was nice to watch a bunch of consummate professionals in an action film for a change, but they weren’t exactly tested. To be honest, I’m quite shocked it got a sequel. I just assumed that everybody made their money and walked away from a fairly forgettable few months of their lives.

Apparently not because it’s 3 years later and RED 2 is in cinemas next week.

If you’re thinking that they might have stepped it up a gear for the sequel. You’re wrong. RED 2 is pretty much exactly the same as RED except that now you’ve got Neal McDonough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Lee Byung-Hun along for the ride. Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich all returned so it’s a pretty stacked deck when it comes to talent.

And they use their talent admirably. Except for Mary-Louise Parker. I just don’t like her as an actress and every time she appeared, it grated for me. Though… if you like Mary-Louise Parker then you shouldn’t have an issue with it. She’s not doing a bad job, I just don’t like what she does. And I certainly didn’t need to see her do it for 2 hours.

Beyond the cast, the film has a few fun set pieces, most of which you can see in the trailer but the film does have a few nice surprises. Like many films in the genre, it does overstay its welcome a bit, 2 hours is much too long, though it does go a bit off the rails (in a good way) in the last 20 mins so you can almost forgive it. Not really, but almost.

On the whole, you could do worse than RED 2, but I can’t help but think you could definitely do better. It just feels like coasting to me.


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