Jungle
Red 2
BACK IN THE MIX

Brian Cox also returns from the original cast to reprise his role as the romantic Ivan.

After enjoying his retirement with the love of his life, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) has traded in his lust for killing for a passion for housekeeping. His comfort is interrupted when his old partner, Marvin (John Malkovich), tries to warn Frank of their forged betrayal to the CIA. Frank and Marvin, joined by Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), Frank's bored and impulsive girlfriend, are forced to travel the globe in search of a weapon called Project Nightshade. As if the worldwide search wasn't enough, the trio are also being hunted by their good friend Victoria (Helen Mirren) as well as Frank's old protege, Han (Byung-hun Lee), who both received orders by their superiors to kill both Frank and Marvin. 
 
I extremely enjoyed the first Red (You can find my review for it right here) so my excitement for Red 2 was relatively high. Unfortunately, Red 2 is nothing more than a mindless waste of time. With original director Robert Schwentke busy with R.I.P.D (also coming out July 19th), the directing duty went to Dean Parisot, responsible for the underrated Galaxy Quest and the bland Fun With Dick & Jane. Parisot carries the disappointment from Dick & Jane over to the Red series and somehow finds a way to let these interesting characters drain themselves of any personality and simply exist to use their quirks when they're needed. 
 
Bruce Willis' Frank Moses was a man who just wanted a change and to settle down. Now that he has done all of that, he is just a simple man whose highlights include a day of shopping at Costco. With Sarah having fallen for danger and espionage, she has become bored in her new life. With this situation, it seems Sarah doesn't truly love Frank, that she is only interested in the action. This especially doesn't make things any better when she is found kissing numerous people in the movie. Marvin's drug-fueled personality is now replaced with a relationship guru who thinly walks the line of genius and fool, depending on if the situation needs him to be one or the other. The only returning personality here is Helen Mirren's Victoria, the lovable and kind assassin with a killer shot. 
 
Red 2 lets the action take a backseat while the comedy takes over. This wouldn't be an issue is the comedy were more present and personality driven. Instead, it seems that Dean Parisot had to much another action-comedy and happened to see Summit had signed off on another Red film. Even though the comedy is mostly bland, there are some good laughs to be had, like Helen Mirren donning a straight jacket and screaming as if she was the Queen of England (a nice little in-joke for film buffs). When a new, younger cast member steals the show from the veteran returning actors, there's clearly something amiss with the formula. 
 
It's hard not to fault Red 2's disappointment with Director Dean Parisot when the formula seems so off and the direction is as misdirected as it is here. During the action sequences, it's hard to keep track of who is where and exactly what's going on. In Red 2's first action segment, Frank is pitted against Agent Jack Horton (a chilling Neal McDonough) and 8 of his guards. At one point, 3 guards go into a room with Frank, trying to outnumber him. The next couple scenes show him taking down 6 different guards, double the number of how many guards went in. It's all to confusing to try to keep track of. 
 
With a massive lack of direction and bland comedy taking over in an action franchise, Red 2 is a major disappointment on all accounts and will be forgettable before it's release on Blu-Ray/DVD. Looks like R.E.D should instead stand for Retired & Extremely Dull.
Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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