By Jason Harris
I didn’t care for Red when it was first released almost three years ago. I’m not sure why. I recently watched it again in anticipation of seeing Red 2, and this time around I enjoyed it and would like to own it. It is now a favorite action movie of mine, as is Red 2.
Red 2 opens up with Frank (Bruce Willis) and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) shopping at a Costco. Frank doesn’t seem any worse for wear after running from the Moldovan Army at the end of Red. He excitedly comes up to Sarah with bulk bargain items. The look on Sarah’s face seethes with boredom. She wants action. This is shown by her enthusiasm when Marvin (John Malkovich) shows up to tell him that Interpol is after him because of Nightshade, a Cold War project to sneak a nuclear weapon into Russia. Frank wants nothing to do with Marvin or his information so he sends him away, much to the chagrin of Sarah.
Even after Marvin’s car explodes and he is presumably dead, Frank still wants to play things safe. With the Red movies, you can never be sure what to expect. Frank isn’t sure Marvin’s dead, and he tests his theory a few times at Marvin’s funeral. These moments are funny and cringe-worthy since you and Frank are thinking the same thing. Is Marvin really dead? I won’t spoil it for you.
It’s not long after the funeral that Frank is living up to his RED (retired, extremely dangerous) designation.
Helen Mirren’s Victoria is back. She’s given a contract by MI6 to kill Frank. There is a moment where it looks like she will fulfill that contract, but before long they are all together trying to stop world destruction.
Anthony Hopkins portrays baddie Bailey. It’s not Hopkins’ best performance since it didn’t seem to be even. This problem could lie in the writing, though. One moment, he’s crazy or just acting like a loon. The next minute he’s fine then he starts to slip back towards crazy. It was an off-putting performance.
The movie’s writers, Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, took a page from The Fast and the Furious movies with the character of Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee). The audience is introduced to Han before he is contracted to kill Frank. Han is a cool character whom you want to survive and be in Red 3. This can’t happen if Frank and Han remain enemies. By the end of the movie, Frank and Han are working together. Hopefully there will be a third movie where we see more of Han.
The Red series could be considered Bruce Willis’ Expendables series (which he is in, but not in a starring role). Red is high on action and excitement, and there is definitely enough gas in the tank for a third movie.