Apparently, Bruce Willis is “…bored of making action movies.” Well when you take this current movie and Die Hard 5 (I know that’s not what it’s called, but I don’t care!) into account it’s no wonder. I enjoyed the first movie, based on Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner’s graphic novel of the same name. It was knowingly funny in the right places, but maintained an edginess to the narrative that kept the audience interested. Red 2 on the other hand is none of these things.
I’m not sure what movie Mary-Louise Parker is in and I don’t think she does either by the expression on her face that endures throughout the 116 minute running time. Some kind of inane smile backed up by a quizzical look in her eyes that suggests she really can’t believe the patronising way in which Bruce’s Frank constantly rejects Sarah’s attempts to be part of the covert group. You get the sense that our principles would rather be somewhere else, doing something else, rather than sharing screen time with their cohorts, whereas one of the many plus points of Red was the chemistry between this (ostensibly) same group of actors. I could go on about John Malkovich or Catherine Zeta-Jones or Anthony Hopkins – don’t get me wrong, on paper it’s a great cast – but these disparate parts just don’t fit into a satisfying whole.
At no point did I feel invested in the narrative and I wonder whether the mainly European location hopping was an excuse to just get the most out of the private jet gag. Used as a long, dragged out comedic string to somehow cement the reason for Han’s hatred of Frank, one could posit that being paid $20m would be sufficient for the “best hitman in the world”. Perhaps it is some sideways reference to Star Wars, with Frank stealing Han’s jet – his beloved Millennium Falcon. Who knows. All I do know is that, while not a tragic mess (and with the only plus being the appearance of the forever gorgeous Helen Mirren and a good turn from Byung-hun Lee) Red 2 can definitely be filed under “disappointing”.