Movie Review: RED 2

The sequel to the explosive and comedic 2010 film, RED, RED 2 brings back the gang of murderous retirees to once again kick some butt and save the world from corrupt cops and evil terrorists.

In this installment, CIA retiree Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) struggles to lead a normal life with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), until they are approached by old friend Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), who fears that their lives are in danger. After being apprehended and taken for interrogation at the Yankee White Facility, Frank is approached by Jack Horton (Neal McDonough), who kills the people who brought Frank in and threatens Frank into telling him about a secret organization called Nightshade. After Frank escapes, Marvin explains that they were put onto a list of participants associated with the secret organization without their knowledge. The organization being created in order to smuggle a nuclear weapon into Russia piece by piece. Horton brands Frank and his team as terrorists and orders Victoria (Helen Mirren), along with specialized assassin Han Cho-Bai (Lee Byung-hun), to track down and kill Frank. Later, Frank and his team travel to France where they seek the truth behind Nightshade and the nuclear weapon. Once there, they are stopped by Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a Russian special agent who had a past relationship with Frank. Together, the team seeks out "The Frog", who holds the key (literally) to discovering Nightshade. After capturing "The Frog", the team searches for Dr. Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant physicist and the secret creator of the weapon behind Nightshade. With the CIA and Horton's assassins on their tail, the team of the Retired, Extremely Dangerous race against the clock as they try to rid themselves of a deadly bomb and a few men who want their heads on a platter.

When I first heard that a sequel was being made to the first film, I was so excited because I had loved the original and funny antics that went along with the team of oldies who still had something up their sleeves in the 2010 film RED. The film had a good concept going for it and delivered nothing but awesomeness with lots of explosions and witty remarks throughout the cast. This year's sequel, RED 2, delivered much of what the first film had, with the smart, action-packed comedy it had anticipated. However, I don't think the film lived up to the hype of the previous film, bringing such an original concept from the short comic series to the big screen for the first time. Yes, the sequel did bring the heat with more action, shooting, and explosions, and also added new cast members such as G.I. Joe's Lee Byung-hun and expert psychopath and mastermind Anthony Hopkins, however didn't live up to the wit and originality of the first film. A few things I did enjoy about the film was that it had the same smart cast we know and love such as Willis, the mercenary with a heart, Malkovich, the funny guy who makes the movie laughable, and Mirren, the Brit who isn't afraid to kill a man (or two). Another thing was the action didn't leave you bored and tired, it kept you on the edge with every shot, explosion, and car chase. The last thing was the twists and turns throughout the film, with numerous accounts of devious back-stabbing and betrayal. In this film I learned (as if I didn't already know) that you really can't trust anyone in that line of duty, not even a mindless physicist who can't even tell left from right. Nonetheless, this film delivers amazing action, witty comedy, and thrills all around. The only other thing I'm a bit ticked off about was the exclusion of Morgan Freeman in this film, his character being killed off in the first film. Even if it would be awkward to see the dead character alive again in the sequel, I enjoyed Freeman so much it would have been awesome to see him return from the dead for the sequel.

Playing the brilliant physicist and creator of the nuke that's hidden beneath Nightshade, Anthony Hopkins once again delivers an excellent performance as a physicist who has been held in an asylum for the criminally insane (sound familiar?) for the last thirty-two years. Last time I saw Hopkins on screen was in the 2012 biographical comedy-drama Hitchcock, where he played the renowned director behind North by Northwest and Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock, alongside fellow RED 2 actress Helen Mirren. Returning to the asylum once again ever since he was deemed Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the critically acclaimed film The Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins revisits his genuine devious nature as the (Spoiler!) secret villain/mastermind behind the organization Nightshade and the creator of the Red Mercury bomb that causes chaos among the Russians and the RED team. I enjoyed Hopkins' character a lot as he deceived the team by posing as a mindless asylum patient with a sinister plot hidden within.

Overall, RED 2 was enjoyable, laughable, and favorable for the quickly amused and action fans. The film had a good cast that will make you laugh and also cringe as they shoot at each other and back-stab here and there, and also had some decent action from fast car chases to storage room Home Alone-style take-downs.

I gave this film an 8 out of 10 because it had good action and comedy, a bad-ass assassin/G.I. Joe ninja, and a witty, yet psychotic, Lecter-style mastermind behind it all.                  

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