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Red 2


Stars: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung-hun Lee, David Thewlis, Brian Cox, Neal McDonough, Steven Berkoff, Tim Pigott-Smith, Garrick Hagon

Director: Dean Parisot

There’s absolutely no need to suspect this light-hearted, fast-moving and intellectually undemanding show is anything other than a justifiable sequel to the 2012 surprise success.

No more, no less.

There’s nothing for auteurists to slaver over in Dean Parisot’s efficient to-the-point direction. Hs job is to keep the show on the road and moving fast, to drive it over frequent lapses in narrative logic within the incident-packed screenplay (Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber) and showcase a classy cast, all of whom give the show their all and, especially in the case of John Malkovich, who camps it up in classic ‘Carry On’ style, rather more.

The plot, should you care, finds former Black Ops agent Bruce Willis (“Retired and Extremely Dangerous” – hence the title) coming out of retirement and blazing back into action to track down a missing next-generation nuclear device that’s been hidden in Moscow and, naturally, save the world in the process. Helen Mirren returns in cheerful sharp-shooting form and sums up the film’s ‘philosophy’ when she states: “It’s important to enjoy life while you still can!” while adding to an impressive list of Bad Guy casualties.

The action - enjoyably peppered with comedy - segues from the States to Paris, London and Moscow as Our Motley Heroes take on assassins, terrorists and power-hungry politicians, rescuing daffy scientist Anthony Hopkins (very funny and maintaining an impressive upper-class English accent) and generally raising a ruckus wherever they go.

Catherine Zeta-Jones turns up (appropriately billed under the title)and leaving thespian exertions back at home to add to the fun, along with Korean star Byung-hun Lee who, between kicking the martial arse of various villains, rightly complains about his private jet being stolen.

The players appear to be enjoying themselves. Cinemagoers simply seeking a sequel with no pretensions other than to entertain should be satisfied. As usual, I’ll take refuge in the greatest philosophical textbook of the 20th century and quote Dr McCoy. “It’s not Art, as we know it Jim”. True. But it is fun, fast-moving and, after entertaining, forgettable too.

So many sequels suck. This one doesn’t.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour by deluxe.
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 02 Aug 2013