PG-13 (pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, strong language and drug material); 108 min.
Bruce Willis and John Malkovich arent the real couple at the heart of Red 2, the action comedy sequel about retired government assassins. Theyre just part of a love triangle, one that Mary Louise Parker completes. Her character Sarah may be Franks (Willis) dizzy but decreasingly naive lady love, but Marvin (Malkovich) is the one who gullibly fills her in on this bloody if exciting life theyve led and somehow continue to lead. And hes the one who gives her guns.
The joy of Red was seeing a cast packed with Oscar winners (Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine) and very good actors (Malkovich, Parker, Brian Cox and Karl Urban) flesh out and class up a Bruce Willis action film.
And if anything, this Retired, Extremely Dangerous sequel ups the ante. Theres a new acronym ICE: Incarcerated, Cannot Execute. Theyve replaced killed-off Oscar winners with Anthony Hopkins as an addled old scientist and Catherine Zeta-Jones as a Russian agent and onetime lady love of Franks. And the change in directors to comedy-specialist Dean Parisot ( Galaxy Quest) means theres a laugh a minute amid all this mayhem.
Its all ground weve sort of covered before, and things do tend to drag before the too-violent third act turns too bloody. But Red 2 goes down easily, from Malkovichs demented moments of relationship advice, to Dame Helens tender and amusing Hitchcock reunion with Sir Anthony.
Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service