In 2010, between “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” DC Entertainment made “RED,” and brought the older action stars, and some not so, to play on the big screen. Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Mary Louise Parker returned for the 2013 sequel that really wasn’t necessary.
Following much of the premise of the first, the team is being hunted down for reasons attached to a mission from their past. Where the first “RED” was much a domestic tour film, “RED 2” is a foreign guidebook as they travel from France to London and to Russia in pursuit of a nuclear device more powerful than ever imaginable.
Mary Louise Parker’s character is fleshed out a bit more in this film, going from the pulled along damsel in distress to a willing and reckless spy of her own making. It is her character that provides the most comic situations, as her hot-headedness often leads her to make decisions outside her capabilities.
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Byung Hun-Lee join the cast as a Russian agent, a mad scientist and a top-notch hit man, respectively. The entire cast, new and old, embrace their roles in the fullest. Where the script fails them in its lackluster pacing, the cast saves the day by playing up the sheer craziness of a group of half-century old actors running around blowing each other up to save the world.
Where the first one was a fun trip with some old favorites, at times “RED 2” drags on under the sheer weight of its own trying. For this movie tries mightily, but cannot replicate the surprise success of the first. No matter how awesome the scene with Helen Mirren firing a gun out of both windows of a speeding car is. Which is really, really awesome. The gems like these within the movie are what save the movie from my C-grade, earning it a B, because in the end I thoroughly enjoyed it.