<p>Bruce Willis resumes the role of a retired CIA agent in RED 2.<br></p>
Director: Dean Parisot
Studio: DC Entertainment / di Bonaventura Pictures
Stars: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren
Somehow, much of the snap and fizz that helped turn RED into one of 2010’s most rousing box-office sleepers has been nicely preserved in RED 2, with newcomer old-timers Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Byung-hun Lee hitching up with all-star returnees Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren.
Round two, based on a script by Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber adapted from Warren Ellis’ comic book series for DC, sends out-to-pasture CIA agent Willis back into action after he and his wiggy, gun-crazy old bud Malkovich have a tête-à-tête at Costco. It turns out that due to an internet smear campaign meant to point the finger of suspicion at him, Willis must do some serious international globetrotting to salvage his reputation and, while he’s at it, to stop the detonation of a long-missing nuke. Bring on the weapons, the car chases, the action sequences and the team camaraderie, aided and abetted by the expertly and stylishly oddball performances of cast members like Mirren as a cool, calculating assassin and Parker as Willis’ thrill-crazy mate.
Other delightful scenery-chewing is demonstrated by Zeta-Jones (even in a small role) as one of Willis’ sultry and sizzling old loves and, especially, by Hopkins as a Brit brain considered such a loose cannon he’s shut up in a loony bin. The explosive, murder and mayhem–filled RED 2is lifted by its cast of old pros obviously having a ball and delivering some of the best popcorn-munching fun of the entire moviegoing summer. But since some of the characters meet their makers, we can’t help but wonder whether the inevitable RED 3 might grow exponentially bigger and add to its cast of merry butt-kickers, oh, say, Meryl Streep, Sir Ian McKellen and Jack Nicholson. They’d be right at home.