Red 2 is a popcorn movie if I ever saw one. It’s packed with stars (the joke being that they are all supposedly past their prime) and it’s packed with action (still, nothing hotter than Helen Mirren with guns), and has plenty of humor to spare (John Malkovich with his mouth always pursed in a tiny “o”). You have a good time and leave the theater with a smile. The next day, you wouldn’t remember the plot, even if a Russian KGB agent strapped a red-mercury bomb to your back.
Red 2 brings back most of the cast from the first film (which was aptly titled Red). The actors are all so famous, and are having such a famously good time, that we’ll just refer to them as we know and love them: Bruce (Willis) and Mary-Louise (Parker) are getting all domestic in his retirement, but John (Malkovich), Bruce’s ex-CIA buddy, corners them in a Costco, lamenting that no one’s been killed in weeks! Before you can say, “Exploding car!”, the trio is on the run. There’s something about Bruce now having a target on his back, and a world-class assassin (Byung-hun Lee) has been hired to take him out. In the meantime, an infamous bomb inventor (Anthony Hopkins) is released from prison/confinement, and is out looking for a nasty bomb he hid in a very public building 30 years before… and everyone wants their hands on this bomb-to-end-all-bombs!
This is one of those movies where the characters are in the U.S. and say, “We need to go to London!” and the next scene they are in London, without having had to sit cramped in Economy Class for a 9-hour flight. But you are happy to watch them globe-hop, and it is refreshing to see a cast where no one is under 40 (even “the girl”, as they weirdly refer to Mary-Louise Parker, who is pushing 50, bless her cute little heart). Catherine Zeta-Jones shows up as a hot hot hot Russian agent. And do we need to expound again on the glory of Helen Mirren with weaponry?
The Red movies are not classic action films, nor are they particularly memorable. But because of the stellar cast, who are obvioulsy having a blast, the series is undeniably fun escapism. My guess is that there will probably be another Red film… and why not? I’d probably see it!