RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous) was an interesting concept. In the graphic novel it’s old people being action heroes. In the movie it was old action heroes being old people being action heroes. As such it was modestly entertaining, with some impressive fight scenes and shoot outs, despite an eventual lackluster ending. But because it was a success, here is a sequel.
The characters in the first were one dimensional archetypes of traditional machismo and style, with each of the stars encapsulating the broad strokes of a natural fighter. Bruce Willis was the action hardened soldier, Morgan Freeman was Bond-esque and suave, John Malkovich was ready to crack as he raised his hands to the sky, and Helen Mirren could kill you with a wink of her eye. Karl Urban played the youngster rookie, but keeping in line with the premise he’s an agent with more skill than the average professional killer but still not enough to keep up with Willis’ gang. Said gang tries to uncover a vast conspiracy as Urban tries to bring them all in, or down.
What’s the story in this one? Nuking major city, Anthony Hopkins playing a crazy genius whose name isn’t Hannibal Lector, blah, blah, blah, just go see this and imagine everyone is saying McClane when they’re talking to Bruce Willis imagining this is a “Die Hard 5” that isn’t completely awful. It follows closely enough in terms of the plot anyway, and everyone is busy hamming it up, that while one dimensional, at least they are emoting that one dimension. That’s the one thing films like this have over those films that are gray and gritty. They’re like video games. If it has a color palette that a dog can see without missing anything, it just makes it that much harder to enjoy.
RED 2 is in theaters August 1st.