I’m a bit late to the RED franchise, having only just seen RED 2 last night without ever seeing the first film. I admit I didn’t think it would be my kind of film, but I actually really enjoyed it, finding it to be the perfect blend of action and comedy.
The franchise is inspired by the limited edition comic series of the same name, which was created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner and published by DC Comics. In the films the title stands for the designation given to former C.I.A agent Frank Moses (played by Bruce Willis) – Retired and Extremely Dangerous and like the first movie, RED 2 sees a team of retired agents once again out in the field on a dangerous and bonkers mission. This time the action takes place three years after RED and sees Frank Moses’s attempts to live the quiet life with girlfriend Sarah ruined when Marvin (John Malkovich) reappears claiming they are both being hunted due to a supposed connection to a secret Cold War operation to smuggle a nuclear weapon in to Russia. They must try and get to the bottom of Operation Nightshade before those chasing them catch up with them.
What I enjoyed most about this film was how much fun it was. With a cast including Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Dame Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins I knew it wouldn’t be bad, but I was pleasantly surprised that the plot was the ideal balance between an action spy adventure and a mad comedy. Mary-Louise Parker (best known to me as Amy Gardner in The West Wing) is also great as Frank Moses’ civilian girlfriend, who soon slips in to the spy lifestyle and starts to truly enjoy it! Despite the years since Die Hard, Bruce Willis continues to stamp his mark on the action man persona and Anthony Hopkins maintains his ability to play characters who have an air of psychopath about them!
My favourite of the bunch though has to be Victoria played by Dame Helen Mirren. A friend of the boys, but employed to kill them, this is a feisty, sexy role for her, which she clearly has fun with and is one you cannot help but love. Victoria is not one to be trifled with, effortlessly wielding a rifle and disposing of enemies in seconds. It’s so wonderful to see such a role created for an older woman and there is no one better to embody her than Dame Helen!
Yes the plot is a bit ridiculous, but I don’t want every film I watch to be a heavy, serious drama and with such a fantastic cast, this is an ideal movie to watch if you simply need escapism that will entertain you and make you laugh too. RED 3 is apparently on the cards and I’ll certainly go and see it. In the meantime, I better watch the first one!
RED 2 is out on DVD and on demand platforms now and here’s the trailer if you are curious: http://youtu.be/HcVkavITnAI