The blockbuster that was Red surprised many, but on paper its success and thus the demand for Red 2 should have been of little shock. Pair a wildly popular graphic novel with superstars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and a recipe for success seems a no brainer. Red 2 picks up months after the last film in a Costco of all places.
Willis’ Frank is living a life of suburban bliss (so he thinks) with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), but she is craving more. What a surprise given the fact that Sarah and Frank met in Red when bullets were flying and the excitement was palpable?
Malkovich’s Marvin shows up at said Costco and tells Frank that “they” are closing in and things aren’t as safe as the soft rock-laden landscape of the superstore may appear. There’s a mission they went on in the late 1970s and at the core of the espionage is a troubled man who is rumored to have leaked some vital information that names Frank and Marvin.
That fact will take Marvin, Frank and Sarah to Paris, Moscow and London and an action fest that also takes the audience to Hong Kong with the introduction of Byung-hun Lee and his “world’s best assassin" Han Cho Bai. As seen in the Red 2 trailer, parts of Frank’s past come to light in the sequel to Red.
First, it seems that he had something to do with Bai winding up in jail as an enemy of the state, and second, Russia’s most deadly -- Catherine Zeta Jones -- and him had a past relationship that Marvin calls Frank’s “kryptonite.” Needless to say, that does not sit well with Sarah, but Marvin and Frank need Jones to help clear their name.
Sounds like a promising premise. But, Red 2 is truly nothing more than a high school reunion that goes better than one expects. It’s great to see everybody, and they’re terrific conversationalists and present good company. But, during the morning after, you may wonder why you went.
Unfortunately, Red 2 is hardly thrilling. It seems on paper with its international intrigue that the film would be a classic Cold War mystery. Yet, it is fun -- but without any of the elements that should be there to ensure an adventure that takes our heroes to all corners of the world fighting off death at each corner.
The Movie Fanatic Red 2 review welcomes the film in the sense that it is pure joy hanging out with Marvin, Sarah, Frank and especially Mirren’s former MI6 agent Victoria. Add in the welcomed presence of Lee and Anthony Hopkins and Red 2 is pure, but empty fun.