Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson
spies in the Bible
|Featuring:||Bruce Willis … Frank
John Malkovich … Marvin
Mary-Louise Parker … Sarah
Helen Mirren … Victoria
Anthony Hopkins … Bailey
Byung-hun Lee … Han Cho Bai
Jong Kun Lee … Han’s Father
Catherine Zeta-Jones … Katja
Neal McDonough … Jack Horton
David Thewlis … The Frog
Garrick Hagon … Davis
Tim Pigott-Smith … Director Philips
Brian Cox … Ivan
Di Bonaventura Pictures
|Distributor:||Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate|
“It’s important to enjoy life while you still can!”
Prequel to this movie: RED (2010)
For Retired Extremely Dangerous (RED) ex-spy Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), the good life is sitting at home enjoying the company of his girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), relaxing on weekends, doing virtually nothing. That all changes when he learns that there are forces at work that are out to make him retire—permanently! These enemies will stop at nothing to make him pay for his past involvement in super secret agent stuff. He knows too much, has seen too much, and his enemies want him dead.
Wait a minute, wasn’t that the whole plot of the original “RED” movie?
Honestly, there you have it. A couple of years ago, Frank and his old pals Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) were all forced out of retirement by would-be assassins who wanted to cover up their tracks by killing anyone who was involved in a secret government mission. The last movie was cute—based on a comic book of the same name—the original had some, well, originality. The thought of these middle aged, seasoned former spies who were able to take names and kick butt was pretty exciting. The pace was quick, great comic-like special effects, and witty dialog. Sadly, because there is nothing really new in this sequel, all of the charm of the original is gone, leaving the audience with—haven’t we seen all this before? Pretty much the only change in the film is that now our fight has gone global, in that our heroes must save the entire former Soviet Union from obliteration.
Like the original, this film is full of killing and violence (nothing too gruesome, but still A LOT of killing and violence. There’s a bunch of unnecessary coarse language. Thankfully, the sexual content is kept to a minimum.
This film suffers from the Hollywood belief that if it makes good money, we have to have a sequel! Bigger special effects and bigger budgets do not always equate to better, more enjoyable movies. To that end, I am chalking this one into the “you should have left well enough alone” category. Save your money and rent the DVD of the original—even if you’ve seen it before—you’ll be happy you did.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy—“My God” (4), “G*d-damn” (2), OMG, “Oh God,” “God,” “Good L*rd,” “Jesus,” “hell” (8), “damn” (3), s-words (6), “d*ck-head,” “*ss” (2), SOB (2), “cr*p”, f-word toward the end / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…RED 2 may be the most entertaining action movie of the year, with lots of exciting action scenes and humor. … a strong moral worldview stressing right and wrong, the foul language and action violence warrants caution for young viewers. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…All viewers get, then, is a series of amped-up but well-worn action sequences, a mounting tally of dead or dying, and a nuclear explosion that's shrugged off like one more annoying sign-up letter from the AARP. …
Bob Hoose, Plugged In
…Does just about everything RED did, just not quite as well. Makes attempts at the same charm and flair but the execution is often forced. …
—Jeffrey Huston, Crosswalk
…Resemblances to a slew of similarly conceived titles and potential sequel-fatigue pose challenges for this second installment. …
—Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter
…The result feels like what the Bourne movies would have delivered if the screenwriters had opted for humour over spycraft. Or The Expendables if it had been any good. …
—Chris Knight, National Post
…Human heroes in “RED 2” are barely lifelike…
—Graham Killeen, Journal Sentinel
…The gang’s all here, but the schtick is getting tired. … things do tend to drag before the too-violent third act turns too-bloody. …
—Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
…Lauded actors floating on a sea of action-flick clichés…
—Adam Nayman, The Globe and Mail