The sequel to 2010’s surprise success once again features a heavy-hitting cast of ‘older’ stars wisecracking, blowing things up and generally having a lot of fun. But while the first movie had a naïve grace to its endeavours, this release feels far more forced.
The grimaces from Willis seem to have more than a hint of reality behind them, as if he feels he really is too old for this. The new additions of Hopkins and Zeta-Jones also detract rather than add; the Welshman delivers an uncomfortable – and not very amusing – performance of nervous tics and faraway stares, while CZJ manages to portray a vampish Russian spy in turgid and instantly forgettable fashion.
Mirren and Parker occasionally brighten things up with well-delivered acerbic observations, but overall this is a film of jarring and poorly constructed parts. A truly astonishing product placement of a well-known pizza firm is one of the more obvious clues that this sequel, even more than most, was all about the money.
That being said, there is some small change in Malkovich’s acid burnout secret agent philosophising on conspiracy theories while, yes, you guessed it, blowing even more things up.
RED 2 | Directed by Dean Parisot (USA 2013) with Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Originally published in Issue #119, September 2013.