Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary-Louise Paarker, Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox, Lee Byung-hun
Dir. Dean Parisot
There are men sitting in darkened rooms in Hollywood who would tell us that we don’t want to see big budget action thrillers starring old people. So how come Red was good enough to merit a sequel? Red 2 gives lie to the fact that only granite chinned youngsters can do action films.
The combined age of the six leading names in Red 2 comes to 6438 years. (Just kidding it’s actually 4971 years. Sorry, couldn’t resist that, Willis, Malkovich, Mirren, Zeta-Jones, Parker, Hopkins and Cox pull together a dizzy 422 years old; Catherine Zeta-Jones being the baby at 44.) So who says you have to be in your twenties or thirties to tote a machine gun or hang out of a window.
The plot involves Willis and Malkovich being named on a website, identified as part of a secret covert programme called Nightshade. This is a plan to blow up Moscow with a nuclear device, a plan the US spy agencies would rather forget and are trying to kill anyone associated with it. Out come the travel documents to take the film to London, Paris and Moscow with a lot of bedlam and bloodshed in between.
Malkovich gets the best line in the film when he and Willis are pinned down by Byung-hun firing a machine gun that spits out three and a half thousand rounds a minute, cutting everything in half whether its made of steel or stone. Willis yells to Malkovich, ‘Is that a stick of dynamite in your pocket?’ Malkovich, his voice addled by years of acid, yells back, ‘yes, but I was saving it for an emergency,’
Everyone has raised their game for Red 2. Willis maintains his cocky charm, Mirren is devilishly mischievous, Zeta-Jones smoulders as Willis’s Russian Nemesis, Hopkins bumbles like the archetypal boffin. But it’s Malkovich who steals the show with his paranoid puppet of a man, always on hand with a last second solution.
Red 2 is value for money. Good old fashioned cinematic mayhem and none the worse for it.