After becoming a under the radar success back in 2010, it was only inevitable that Lorenzo Di Bonaventura was goanna get a second instalment in the ‘other OAP action franchise’ based on a DC Comic, with ‘RED 2’. Bruce Willis has returned, with Mary- Louise Parker, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. Joining them is Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Neil McDonough and (playing the Karl Urban role) Byung-Hun Lee.
The thing about the first ‘RED’ was I liked the world it inhabited. The way the image of the world of espionage had a old adventure romp glow it, and while it might stretch it, director Dean Parisot (of ‘Galaxy Quest’ fame and replacing Robert Schwentke – who went off to direct ‘R.I.P.D’), keeps the action and synergy between the cast, rather well. It is a shame that some of this world build does crack though to a (at times) lazy script, with lazily written infiltration plans and its horrible balancing act it tries to do with the characters. Poor Byung- Hung Lee, never seems to get a look in (his martial arts are non- existent here – more so against Bruce Willis) and Willis himself has capped off a year where he just walks on screen for a pay check, with a very unmotived performance which doesn’t contribute or offer a series of emotions that helps in creating a believable character.
Still Mirren, Malkovich, Parker and a returning Brian Cox are on fine form though, and while it might lack ‘bite’ in some sequences, some good solid action as well. It’s also nice to see David Thewlis and Titus Welliver turn up as well. Either way this is more of a mixed bag. Pacing in the narrative is all over and eventually you do stop caring, but it does mean well – so again more a mixed bag then a surprise romp, that of the first one.