RED 2 (director: Dean Parisot; screenwriters: Jon Hoeber/Erich Hoeber/based on characters created by Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner; cinematographer: Enrique Chediak; editor: Don Zimmerman; music: Alan Silvestri; cast: Bruce Willis (Frank Moses), John Malkovich (Marvin Boggs), Mary-Louise Parker (Sarah), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Bailey), Helen Mirren (Victoria), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Katja), Byung-hun Lee (Han Cho Bai), David Thewlis (The Frog), Brian Cox (Ivan), Neal McDonough (Jack Horton), Steven Berkoff (Cobb), Tim Pigott-Smith (Director Philips), Garrick Hagon (Davis); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: ; Lionsgate; 2013)
“Absurd sequel to the absurd and inconsequential Red.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

LongtimeTV director Dean Parisot(“Home Fries”/”Galaxy Quest”) directs this absurd sequel to the absurd and inconsequential Red, helmed by Robert Schwentke, and brings up the non-stop action sequences several ridiculous notches as he brings back many of the same senior citizen stars for another cartoonish bang-bang thriller in mindless escapist entertainment–something the public bought into in a big way at the box office the first time around. The globe-trotting spectacle is written for chuckles by Jon and Erich Hoeber, and nothing seems to matter but getting the comic timing down and toeing the mark on the many eye-popping action set-pieces. The graphic source material was created for DC Comics by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner,

The black-ops CIA operative Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) retires again and his ditsy civilian squeeze, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), try to see if they can obtain domestic bliss by doing such things as shopping together at the local mall. Frank’s paranoid and acid-head old partner Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) appears at the mall to recruit the reluctant Frank to take a new case to investigate a leak disclosed on the Internet about a top-secret nuclear program called Nightshade from 1979 that threatens the lives of the two former agents, who are falsely accused of a cover-up. When Marvin is seemingly killed in a car bomb at the mall, Frank is arrested and held for questioning by the CIA. But a malevolent ranking Pentagon official, Jack Horton (Neal McDonough), breaks into the interrogation room with a bunch of heavily armed soldiers and kills the CIA agents holding Frank and attempts to bring Frank in for questioning about the leak. But Frank escapes and fantastically kills everyone but Jack, and then suddenly Marvin returns from the dead to partner again with his old buddy. Frank further learns he has become the target of MI6 assassin Victoria (Helen Mirren) and the world’s best contract killer, the martial arts expert Korean ex-CIA agent Han (Byung-hun Lee). After failing to get Sarah to a safe house, Frank and Marvin bring her along to Europe, as the boys travel in a plane stolen from Han and move from London to Paris to Moscow to try to find out why they are targeted and what Nightshade is about.

Along the way the trio meet sexy Russian spy Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones); a sassy effete wine connoisseur assassin, known as the Frog (David Thewlis), who knows secrets about Nightshade; and they must free from a maximum security crazy house the nutty genius inventor of a portable nuclear weapon, the British scientist Edward Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), who’s death has been faked by British intelligence and he has been locked up for the last 32 years where he writes wildly scribbled equations on his cell wall and babbles like a madman.

Nothing is taking seriously, especially not the plot or the violence–which is stylized gore-free violence. The pic shoots for laughs even when firing away full blast with heavy-artillery action. But it seems to have gotten too carried away with how much in your face hokum the ‘pop artist’ filmmaker and his fellow Hollywood bottom-line creators can shove down the public’s throat before there’s an outcry for basta! The studio hopes there’s still a large audience for such a breezy summer film, one that critics are most likely to disfavor.

RED 2 Poster