It’s been a while since I’ve seen Red. I remember liking it but not as much as I thought I would, given how everybody raved about it. I have to say I really enjoyed the sequel. It was fast paced, funny, and everybody got a chance to shine. Even Bruce Willis, who sometimes can be a tad…subdued, seemed like his heart was in the film. The story wasn’t anything special (Willis’ and Malkovich’s characters are framed for being involved in a secret mission and they have to find out the truth all the while being hunted by various governments) but what sells the film is the chemistry between the cast and the slick direction.
With a number of characters in different countries it would have been easy to lose focus, but there was a nice animated cut to show the country we’re travelling to. The action set-pieces were dynamic and visceral, and at no point did the action seem repetitive. All of the cast were on top form, even the supporting characters (Brian Cox in particular did a lot with just a few minutes on screen). At one point I thought there was a danger that some of the main players would be put to the side, but those doubts were swiftly dealt with.
Despite all the big names included in the film I think Mary-Louise Parker stole the show. I loved her jealousy of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character and all the comedy that came from her relationship with Frank Moses (Willis). Anthony Hopkins was great too, and after his performances as Storm Shadow and now this movie I’m becoming quite a fan of Byung-Hun Lee. Also, Neal McDonough really resembles William Shatner. He almost looks like someone melded the two Captain Kirks.
The only negative thing I do have to say is that the resolution of the plot was a bit predictable and arbitrary, and it seemed to happen because they needed the film to end, not because it felt organic. It didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the film though because the plot was secondary to the chemistry between the actors. It’s a fun two hours and it’s well worth seeing.