Stop reading this review, and go see the movie. It was an absolute blast. While I was originally unsure of whether or not the Hoeber brothers’ latest movie would be up to par, within the first thirty seconds, I was already convinced it was rad.
Perhaps, what I liked most about this movie was that it took a genre that is often done, but rarely works. In the last few years, Hollywood has really pushed the retirees and veterans coming together to complete one last job thing. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do a movie where the retirees come back and fight in modern time without it turning into a chaotic mess (see: ”The Expendables”).
”Red 2” took all the tropes that the audience wants to see (car chases, veteran actors joking about how old they all are, and good looking newcomers) and did them all well. Unlike movies like ”Space Cowboys” and ”The Expendables”, the characters in Red were fleshed out and real people (not to mention, talented actors). While Bruce Willis did an excellent job, John Malkovich stole the movie with his brilliantly quirky performance as Marvin Boggs. However, I think the movie would have been more accurate if it was called “The Faces Malkovich Does,” because that was the best thing. As always, Hopkins was great, particularly when his character is first introduced, and he does this sort of Rain Man-John Nash character.
Unlike a lot of action movies that try hard to be funny, ”Red 2” hit all the notes well. The dialogue between Willis, Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker was hilarious, and was further proof that the Hoeber brothers are masters of creating real characters and having them react in a real way. Basically, everyone except Catherine Zeta-Jones was just great.
As far as a shoot ‘em up goes, this movie relied less on huge explosions and special effects, and went more with a Bourne-style of using clever booby traps and good fight scenes. In addition, unlike a lot of action movies, it did a great job of staying relatively unpredictable, and surprised a few times.
I was particularly happy with how the director, Dean Parisot, put together the movie. Not being a big fan of some of his earlier stuff, I was a bit unsure what he would do with the relatively tricky genre of action-comedy. He did an excellent job, and the movie was beautiful. The shots of Paris were great, and moviegoers may recognize some of the locations from movies such as ”Four Weddings and a Funeral”, ”War Horse”, and ”Eyes Wide Shut”. The layers of friendships and love triangles are really what brought this movie from a pretty good action movie to a really swell movie overall.