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Review: Red 2

Jul. 17, 2013by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: A couple of years after the events of RED, retired agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is trying to live a quiet life with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). When an old memo linking him and fellow retiree Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) to a top secret Cold War weapon makes its way online, he finds himself a fugitive. Now on the run, Frank and Marvin not only have to clear their names, but they also have to contend with their old friend Victoria (Helen Mirren) who’s been contracted by MI6 to kill them, and Frank’s murderous old protégé turned contract killer Han (Lee Byung-hun).

REVIEW: Back in March, if you had told me that A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD was going to be the better Bruce Willis sequel to come out this year, I would have thought you were crazy (although that was pretty bad in it's own right). I thoroughly enjoyed the original RED, and although I assumed a sequel would be more of the same, I never expected it to be this bad. Sure enough, RED 2 is probably the worst Bruce Willis movie since another uncalled-for sequel, THE WHOLE TEN YARDS.

What the hell happened? The original writers are back (although this time they don’t have a Warren Ellis graphic novel to lean on) and while director Robert Schwentke has moved on to RIPD (coincidently coming out on the same day) new director Dean Parisot struck me as a perfectly acceptable substitute, with him having directed the vastly underrated GALAXY QUEST.

The first ten minutes or so aren’t that bad, with it kicking off with a really solid action sequence that has Willis abducted by new baddie Neal McDonough (virtually recreating his role from JUSTIFIED), and being forced to escape by improvising weapons out of whatever he finds. At this point I fully figured RED 2 was going to be just as good as, if not better than the first. Sadly, from there the film goes absolutely into the toilet.

While the first RED was basically an action movie with lots of comedy, this one is more of a comedy with some action, until all of the sudden in the third act where they decide to be more-or-less serious again. Until then, RED 2 is so goofy that by the time the tone changes you won’t care anymore. It doesn’t help that the plot is paper thin, with Willis and company being forced to rescue a daffy Cold War scientist, played in the movie’s sole amusing performance by Anthony Hopkins, who’s been locked up for the last thirty years. While the first film saw the team seemingly dodging assassins at every turn, here they never seem to be in danger (not helped by the fact that it feels like the budget was lowered from the first film, which may explain why there’s more comedy, and less action).

Remember how funny John Malkovich was in the first movie? Here he’s incredibly stale, with him just being called upon to do the same old thing he did last time. Malkovich is always worth watching, but whatever it was about the character that made him so likable in the first film is mostly absent here. Ditto Mary-Louise Parker, who was charming in the last movie, but is mostly called on to be annoying here, with most of her “humor” coming from a plot that makes her jealous of Frank’s interest in his old KGB flame, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones (who’s way too young for the part, but looks great), who helps the gang out for a while.

As for Bruce Willis, in the action scenes he seems to be having fun, but otherwise he’s not asked to do a heck of a lot. I get that this is just a quickie sequel, and not Oscar-bait, but it just feels like everyone here is an auto-pilot, especially Willis. The same goes for Helen Mirren, who’s off-screen for long stretches of time, and only gets one really memorable scene, where she pretends to be Queen Elizabeth to get into a mental hospital. Lee Byung-hun is the only one that seems to really be trying here, but even his part is very thinly written, and he comes off as too much of a buffoon to really add any kind of menace to the proceedings.

RED 2 would still get a pass if the action scenes were in any way memorable, but other than the first set piece, the shootouts and fights are tepid. The ending is particularly lame and jingoistic, although to prevent any spoilers I won’t tell you why. Suffice to say, RED 2 is a sequel that should have never gotten made. It’s nothing but a pale imitation of the first movie. It’s so bad that if I had caught this on Blu-ray or TV instead of reviewing it in theaters, there’s no way I would have stuck it out until the end.

Extra Tidbit: The coolest part of the movie is that two Hannibal Lecter's- Anthony Hopkins and Brian Cox- get a quick scene together.
Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
3:20PM on 07/19/2013

Good to hear.

Good, did not like the first "Red" at all. "Red" got a great cast together and went no where as the film slowly moved to it's end. Don't get me wrong, I love Bruce Willis. He is my favorite gun's blazing action star, and all I want is another "good" Bruce action flick. "Red" was drowning in fashion and it's looks so much so that nothing else mattered.
Good, did not like the first "Red" at all. "Red" got a great cast together and went no where as the film slowly moved to it's end. Don't get me wrong, I love Bruce Willis. He is my favorite gun's blazing action star, and all I want is another "good" Bruce action flick. "Red" was drowning in fashion and it's looks so much so that nothing else mattered.
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+1
2:01PM on 07/19/2013

I had a good time with this!

I saw Red 2 at a sneak screening earlier this week. I have to say that I found it quite enjoyable. I thought the humor was well done for the situations and script, and I felt everyone was genuinely having fun making it. Bruce Willis seemed to be having more fun here than in his last 4 movies combined. Sure, the plot isn't going to break any new ground, and the ending pretty much negates how "horrible" the object is they are searching for, but pushing aside my inner need to scrutinize films with
I saw Red 2 at a sneak screening earlier this week. I have to say that I found it quite enjoyable. I thought the humor was well done for the situations and script, and I felt everyone was genuinely having fun making it. Bruce Willis seemed to be having more fun here than in his last 4 movies combined. Sure, the plot isn't going to break any new ground, and the ending pretty much negates how "horrible" the object is they are searching for, but pushing aside my inner need to scrutinize films with a microscopic lense...I managed to sit back and enjoy the ride. I have to admit, I all but forgot most things about the first RED, and didn't re-watch it before seeing this one. I remember thinking it was an "ok" film, but was pretty let down by it. Me not remembering the first film may have raised my enjoyment of this one much more. It seems like the bad reviews are all comparing it to the first RED. So, if you haven't seen the first in a while, don't re-watch it. Go in fresh and then watch the first after. See what you think. Don't let expectations keep you from enjoying what is a good, fun time!
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3:06PM on 07/17/2013
Can't say I'm surprised. I'm apparently among the minority of people that hated the first, but how much farther could they have gone with the tired "experience trumps youth" cliche? It got stale even before the first film finished its running time.
Can't say I'm surprised. I'm apparently among the minority of people that hated the first, but how much farther could they have gone with the tired "experience trumps youth" cliche? It got stale even before the first film finished its running time.
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3:14PM on 07/19/2013
Your not alone, "Red" was lame and dull. Also, Robert Schwentke director of the first "Red" movie who now directed "R.I.P.D." only proves that more.
Your not alone, "Red" was lame and dull. Also, Robert Schwentke director of the first "Red" movie who now directed "R.I.P.D." only proves that more.
1:24PM on 07/17/2013

I'm still seeing this.

The fuck I care what other people think. That's their opinion. I enjoyed the first one and this one will entertain me as well.
The fuck I care what other people think. That's their opinion. I enjoyed the first one and this one will entertain me as well.
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9:20PM on 07/17/2013
Reading an article and commenting... sounds like you do care what other people think.
Reading an article and commenting... sounds like you do care what other people think.
1:15PM on 07/17/2013
dp.
dp.
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12:34PM on 07/17/2013

Hated the first- not surprised

I was very disappointed by the original RED. It simply bored me. This sounds more boring...
I was very disappointed by the original RED. It simply bored me. This sounds more boring...
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12:34PM on 07/17/2013
I'm a little surprised that they even made a sequel. I didn't think the first one was THAT successful. Either way, I thought the first one was fun and I am sure I will check this one out at some point. Judging by the reviews and feedback here, I will probably wait until BD to check this out.
I'm a little surprised that they even made a sequel. I didn't think the first one was THAT successful. Either way, I thought the first one was fun and I am sure I will check this one out at some point. Judging by the reviews and feedback here, I will probably wait until BD to check this out.
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12:16PM on 07/17/2013
Dammit, I was so looking forward to this, particularly since Dean Parisot's Galaxy Quest is one of my all-time favourite films.
Dammit, I was so looking forward to this, particularly since Dean Parisot's Galaxy Quest is one of my all-time favourite films.
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+3
11:52AM on 07/17/2013

What a disappointment

I saw it last week and thought it was going to be as good as the first one. Man alive did they ever mail it in. What a terrible film. I gave it the same score. Mary Louise Parker's character would have been better acted if they used a cardboard cut out.
I saw it last week and thought it was going to be as good as the first one. Man alive did they ever mail it in. What a terrible film. I gave it the same score. Mary Louise Parker's character would have been better acted if they used a cardboard cut out.
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11:08AM on 07/17/2013
Always thought Red was a great one off film. But Hollywood see's dollar signs and it'll always push for another.
Always thought Red was a great one off film. But Hollywood see's dollar signs and it'll always push for another.
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10:22AM on 07/17/2013

I liked it!

I saw the movie last night and had a great time! The film may have been aided by the fact that I was out with buddies, seeing it for free, and I had a few beers before going in the theater, but we all laughed the whole way through the movie.
I should probably say that I loved the first RED and thought it was a perfect blend of comedy and action. I think this sequel did a perfect job of fitting the tone of the first movie and giving you "more of the same." Some people will complain about
I saw the movie last night and had a great time! The film may have been aided by the fact that I was out with buddies, seeing it for free, and I had a few beers before going in the theater, but we all laughed the whole way through the movie.
I should probably say that I loved the first RED and thought it was a perfect blend of comedy and action. I think this sequel did a perfect job of fitting the tone of the first movie and giving you "more of the same." Some people will complain about that, but it didn't bother me one bit. I was more concerned that the sequel would lose it's tone and fun but it seemed like everyone involved was having as much fun as the first time around.
The movie probably deserves a 7/10 or 8/10 depending on your mood and feelings about the first movie, but if you want to see more crazy Malkovich kick some ass, this movie is for you!
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1:24PM on 07/17/2013
This is a much more intelligent review..
This is a much more intelligent review..
1:24PM on 07/17/2013
This is a much more intelligent review..
This is a much more intelligent review..
9:53AM on 07/17/2013
Well, that sucks! I was hoping this would turn out to be a great sequel. Seemed like the formula was right to have multiple sequels...guess not! And besides, Bruce Willis seems to be phoning in everything he does. I think the last truly great performance he gave was in Moonrise Kingdom, and even that performance wasn't great. Ah well, try again Hollywood.
Well, that sucks! I was hoping this would turn out to be a great sequel. Seemed like the formula was right to have multiple sequels...guess not! And besides, Bruce Willis seems to be phoning in everything he does. I think the last truly great performance he gave was in Moonrise Kingdom, and even that performance wasn't great. Ah well, try again Hollywood.
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9:51AM on 07/17/2013
Bombs away....
Bombs away....
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8:16AM on 07/17/2013
Bruce Willis? On auto-pilot? You don't say! It has become so obvious which movies Bruce Willis wants to do and doesn't want to do that I wonder why he bothers sometimes.
Bruce Willis? On auto-pilot? You don't say! It has become so obvious which movies Bruce Willis wants to do and doesn't want to do that I wonder why he bothers sometimes.
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8:26AM on 07/17/2013
I think he has entered the Morgan Freeman "just say yes to everything and phone it in 95% of the time" phase of his career. Sadly, Freeman just being Freeman is way more interesting than a disengaged Bruce.
I think he has entered the Morgan Freeman "just say yes to everything and phone it in 95% of the time" phase of his career. Sadly, Freeman just being Freeman is way more interesting than a disengaged Bruce.
8:09AM on 07/17/2013
This is a bummer. I really liked the first movie and I was looking forward to this one.
This is a bummer. I really liked the first movie and I was looking forward to this one.
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+1
8:04AM on 07/17/2013
I'm always a little dumbfounded when people complain about a film critic's reviews. Bumbray catches a lot of it on this site. Anything receiving a negative review is pissed and moaned about as though he has decided to assault whatever bizarrely preconceived rooting interest you have in a movie you haven't even seen yet.

Ya know what? Maybe it just sucks.

Many people here seem to demand that a film website should exist solely as a cheerleader for, I suppose, every movie released (except,
I'm always a little dumbfounded when people complain about a film critic's reviews. Bumbray catches a lot of it on this site. Anything receiving a negative review is pissed and moaned about as though he has decided to assault whatever bizarrely preconceived rooting interest you have in a movie you haven't even seen yet.

Ya know what? Maybe it just sucks.

Many people here seem to demand that a film website should exist solely as a cheerleader for, I suppose, every movie released (except, of course, those with the stars, filmmakers and genres that everyone accepts as officially stamped fanboy approved lames.. Those are fine.) . There is a simple and very democratic way to exercise your outrage over the big meanies daring to slander revolutionary cinema like RED fucking 2: stop reading their reviews and stop visiting their sites. Everyone wins. You won't have your feelings damaged by these cyber bullies that use their pulpit to desecrate and decry a film of Red fucking 2's magnitude, and the adults here can be spared your ridiculous, inane, butt hurt whimpering.

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6:42AM on 07/17/2013
Mr. Master seems to be very upset about a review that is pretty much completely in line with every single other review I am seeing on RT and through a simple google search - that RED 2 is a pale imitation of the original.

I relatively enjoyed the first - it was definitely worth the dollar Redbox. I can't be the only one who thinks the trailers for this sequel already make it look pretty damn dull. Am I? I'm not surprised at all at the multiple reviews saying it's got none of the original's
Mr. Master seems to be very upset about a review that is pretty much completely in line with every single other review I am seeing on RT and through a simple google search - that RED 2 is a pale imitation of the original.

I relatively enjoyed the first - it was definitely worth the dollar Redbox. I can't be the only one who thinks the trailers for this sequel already make it look pretty damn dull. Am I? I'm not surprised at all at the multiple reviews saying it's got none of the original's relative charm.
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5:45AM on 07/17/2013

Chris must have to try really hard to be this jaded.

When it comes to any movie you can expect Cris to pop his head in and try to be the next Rodger Ebert. It isn't going to happen dude so stop trying to give every movie that isn't a dramatic period piece a score under 5. No way in hell could this movie be lower than a 6. I will wait for other peoples reviews, mainly stuff from a collective like on rotten tomatoes.
When it comes to any movie you can expect Cris to pop his head in and try to be the next Rodger Ebert. It isn't going to happen dude so stop trying to give every movie that isn't a dramatic period piece a score under 5. No way in hell could this movie be lower than a 6. I will wait for other peoples reviews, mainly stuff from a collective like on rotten tomatoes.
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9:18AM on 07/17/2013
"so stop trying to give every movie that isn't a dramatic period piece a score under 5"

Dude he gave both man of steel and Pacific Rim a 9, that statement makes no sense. And why are you reviewing a review for a film you've never seen? Go home Masterdebator88, you're drunk.
"so stop trying to give every movie that isn't a dramatic period piece a score under 5"

Dude he gave both man of steel and Pacific Rim a 9, that statement makes no sense. And why are you reviewing a review for a film you've never seen? Go home Masterdebator88, you're drunk.
10:13AM on 07/17/2013
Chris' Review > Masterdebator's Review of Chris' Review.

"No way in hell could this movie be lower than a 6." Based on what - your sincere desire for the movie to be quantitatively higher than a 6, according to Chris' own taste's and subjective rating system?
Chris' Review > Masterdebator's Review of Chris' Review.

"No way in hell could this movie be lower than a 6." Based on what - your sincere desire for the movie to be quantitatively higher than a 6, according to Chris' own taste's and subjective rating system?
7:20PM on 07/17/2013
Well.. rotten tomatoes may not have a sufficient consensus for you at this point... but considering you posted your comment on 7/17 (today) you should be able to see that they currently have 6 reviews from critics for this movie on the site -- and the movie is currently coming in at 17%.

17%.

So.... I wouldn't anticipate that changing much as you "wait for other people's reviews".
Well.. rotten tomatoes may not have a sufficient consensus for you at this point... but considering you posted your comment on 7/17 (today) you should be able to see that they currently have 6 reviews from critics for this movie on the site -- and the movie is currently coming in at 17%.

17%.

So.... I wouldn't anticipate that changing much as you "wait for other people's reviews".
4:25AM on 07/17/2013

What the...?

This movie is out already?! Damn, I remember hearing about this and then for some reason it just got buried in some unreachable part of my subconscious. Didn't like the first one at all, and probably never going to see this one.
This movie is out already?! Damn, I remember hearing about this and then for some reason it just got buried in some unreachable part of my subconscious. Didn't like the first one at all, and probably never going to see this one.
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4:22AM on 07/17/2013
4/10? Jeez.
4/10? Jeez.
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+0
3:14AM on 07/17/2013
That's too bad. The first film was solid and the trailer paints this one as much the same. It's a shame this film went to waste.
That's too bad. The first film was solid and the trailer paints this one as much the same. It's a shame this film went to waste.
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+8
2:25AM on 07/17/2013
"Oh good, a RED sequel." Said no one.
"Oh good, a RED sequel." Said no one.
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1:26AM on 07/17/2013

Didn't see the first one,

no desire to see this one, Malkovich would be the only real draw here.
no desire to see this one, Malkovich would be the only real draw here.
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12:48AM on 07/17/2013
Coincidentally, Mary-Louise Parker is also in R.I.P..D.
Coincidentally, Mary-Louise Parker is also in R.I.P..D.
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