Judging by the fact that the original movie RED released in 2010 only made 21 million in it’s opening weekend with a total of 90 million earned domestic most of you never saw it. That is a shame. RED is actually an original film that brings together a number of actors that many people love and tells a story we haven’t quite seen before. It has a chemistry all it’s own and embraces the quirkiness that it contains like a lover. I do highly recommend the original film for everyone and generally speaking it’s family friendly.
Now that brings us to two years later and RED 2. New director, same cast and then some and the same writers (only 2!). The movie made me laugh hard more than a few times, the acting overall was solid, the action was as intense and over the top as the original. So what’s the problem?
Lightning in a bottle.
With the first RED the writers, who also delivered us Battleship; the only movie to possibly come to close to bringing Catwoman down as the worst film ever, may have had their one moment of pure genius or luck. It had near perfect pacing, beautiful dialogue and actual character moments that let you have a moment to breathe between action beats. That’s actually where RED 2 falls flat, which isn’t quite a fail but more of that hard stumble after too many shots of vodka and you start to wonder where you are and why the stars are overhead.
The chemistry seems to have also dwindled between films between the three principles played by Bruce Willis, Malkovich and Mary Louise-Parker. I consider it a flaw that Malkovichs Marvin has a better understanding, relationship and on screen chemistry with MLP’s Sarah than her on screen beau Frank (Willis). The returning characters played by Brian Cox and Helen Mirren all but rescue the movie along with the addition of Byung Hung Lee. Sir Anthony Hopkins turns in one of his more colorful performances of late as the largely insane Bailey (that’s not a spoiler it’s in the trailer). Catherine Zeta Jones on the other hand largley has no point and the movie would have performed better without her.
The lack of chemistry and overall whirlwind plot timing issues surprise me since this is the same Director (Dean Parisot) who gave us the epically funny Galaxy Quest in ’99. Again perhaps lightning in a bottle?
Of course there is one problem that maybe deserves a rant all it’s own. Bruce Willis. He needs to retire. Not his character Frank Moses, I mean Willis himself. Of his last 13 films only one of which has him showing a semblance of something like charm. He’s flat as a pancake hit by optimus prime. It’s the same bald, dry, beady eyed, raspy voice performance that he has given in everything he’s done after Over the Hedge back in 2006. Every single performance I have seen from him since then is completely interchangeable and downright dull. It actually brings down the performances of those around him. I ask this as a personal plea to Bruce Willis and his agent – Retire. Retire while people can still remember John McClane the hero of Nakatomi, while they can still remember Jimmy the Tulip Tudeski, Korben Dallas and Harry Stamper. Retire before you go into production of Die Hardest (I AM NOT JOKING PEOPLE, It’s coming!). Please take the Sean Connery route and look at your recent films and retire while you are still loved by many.
So forgive my little rant and I shall now give you the TL;DR you’ve been waiting for.
Despite everything above, I still enjoyed the film and do recommend it if you have seen the first. It’s matinee only.
If you haven’t seen the first, go. hunt. Find it and watch it. You can probably skip this one unless you get curious and then of course I want you to come back here and tell me your opinion on it.
Overall folks, it was 2 hours that was far better spent this weekend than it was on RIPD, but that of course is like saying having your hand slammed in a door is better than your head slammed in a door (something I wish happened after RIPD).
It is entertaining even though it has some serious flaws. Helen Mirren, Malkovich, Cox, Lee make the film. So Grasshopper, decide now do you see it or not.
My choice – I’d still see it, but only matinee.