The past few years have been buried in comic movies and while some of them have been some of the best movies of those years, so many are completely forgettable as companies dive deep into any sort of recognizable or marketable comic they can turn into the next summer blockbuster. Someone though that Warren Ellis’s Red would make a great movie, and instead of taking the serious plot of a retired CIA agent who was hunting the people who tried to kill him and adapting it, they decided that it would work way better if they had a colorful cast of retirees and make it an action comedy, releasing Red in 2010. While it diverged significantly from the source material, Red was a fun action movie in its own right.
Red 2 picks up a little while after the first left off. Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis, is trying to live his new civilian life with Sarah, played by Mary-Louise Parker. After a few cryptic messages from his old pal Marvin, and John Malkovich’s performance as Marvin is one of the best parts of both movies, he’s drawn back into the covert ops world when an old Soviet era operation threatens to endanger the entire world. Cue globe trotting adventure filled to the brim with hijinks and borderline reality breaking action.
It’s strange, for a movie based on such a serious comic, to capture the hyper-realistic setting and goofiness present in so many comics. Sure, I love the effort taken to humanize the characters and world in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, but that doesn’t mean I want all comic book movies to be gritty, realistic takes on the characters. Red 2 feels like a comic book movie that knows what is so awesome about comics, the fact that they don’t have to play by the constraints of reality. It’s just a fun movie filled with one of the best casts this summer.
After the colossal disappointment of A Good Day to Die Hard, it’s good to see Bruce Willis show that he can still lead an action movie. It helps that he has such an amazing cast here though. Mary-Louise Parker is such a brilliant actress. She can convey so much through her facial expressions that, if done by anyone else, would feel hammy. While John Malkovich is just playing the same character he has in every movie for 10 years now, I love that character and more John Malkovich is the exact opposite of a bad thing. Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins and everyone else that pops up deliver performances that play excellently off each other and show that these actors can still have fun.
Red 2 has the unfortunate task of being an action movie releasing the week after Pacific Rim and as much as I enjoyed the first, I found myself worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy as my mind is still filled with thoughts about Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece. If anything, Red 2’s strength is that it made me forget about Pacific Rim and get lost in its wacky world of aged spies trying to save the world. An excellent cast will only get you so far, but thankfully Red 2 manages to rise above its star power and deliver yet another excellent action movie this summer.
In Theaters: July 19, 2013
Runtime: 116 min
Rating: PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material
Director: Dean Parisot
Cast: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins
Genre: Animation, Family
Studio: DC Entertainment, di Bonaventura Pictures
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Official Site: http://red-themovie.com/