While trying to enjoy a nice, quiet life with girlfriend, Sarah, Frank Moses gets drawn into a plot to make him and his friend, Marvin, look like terrorists for trying to smuggle a nuclear weapon into Russia during the Cold War. Meanwhile, Frank’s friend, retired MI6 agent Victoria and his former foe, Han, both accept contracts to kill him; one begrudgingly, the other, not so. With so many people trying to capture or kill them, Frank, Sarah and Marvin must go on the run and find the truth of what is happening before they run out of time.
RED 2 (2013) – Director: Dean Parisot
Running Length: 116 mins
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich
Genre: Action, Comedy
‘RED 2’, is the sequel to 2010’s ‘RED’, an action comedy movie based on the idea of government agents who are ‘Retired, Extremely Dangerous’. The first movie had a great balance between genuinely funny comedy and exciting action and ‘RED 2’ maintains this balance well. While there are quite a few plot holes and moments which don’t make a great deal of sense, the quality of this movie makes these moments perfectly forgivable. John Malkovich’s performance as Marvin steals the show but each cast member plays their part well, giving a real feeling of friendship and camaraderie which makes the film flow along nicely.
‘RED 2’ is a sequel, however anyone who hasn’t seen the first movie doesn’t need to worry about being left out of the jokes. It may take a little time to get used to the relationships between some of the characters but the characters never become too complicated and once they are established, anyone new to the proceedings will feel just as comfortable with what is happening as those who have followed the exploits of Frank and co before. It is nice to see newcomer to the series, Korean actor Byung-Hun Lee (previously seen in ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra’ and ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’), take on a role which calls for both serious acting and comic timing. As Frank and Marvin are both afraid of Han, it stands to reason that he is a very dangerous character and, despite having a few comedy moments, Lee plays it straight, maintaining the danger level that is set during the introduction of his character. There are hallmarks of the old ‘buddy cop’ movies here, in that the action is balanced nicely with characters grating against each other’s nerves, and yet bouncing off one enough with a zest that adds an extra layer of appeal. The action doesn’t get too action-y and the comedy doesn’t get too farcical. Everyone is a winner! Just don’t think too hard about the quickly buzzed over reasons for going to the various locales and enjoy the scenery.
‘RED 2’ isn’t a perfect film but it is great fun with self-effacing comedy performances from actors whose carefully sculpted Hollywood personas rarely allow fans to see other, more entertaining, sides to their personalities. Being involved in the ‘RED’ movies shows that they can laugh at themselves without showboating and this can only be a good thing.
IS ‘RED 2’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The character of Jack Horton (played by Neal McDonough) is very violent. He murders people in cold blood by shooting and strangling them. When he first meets Frank, he threatens Sarah by saying that when he watches Sarah shaving her legs in the bathtub, he is reminded of when he saw people being skinned alive, starting at the ankles, just like Sarah. He then threatens to ‘flay (her) alive’.
The character of Han, who is a contract killer, has a violent introduction when he goes to his current target. When he is alone in a room with his target, he makes an origami crane out of paper, ensuring that one of the wings is very sharp and slashes the man’s neck. There is no blood or gore but this moment is quite unexpected and could be a little distressing for younger children. The rest of Han’s scenes fall in line with the rest of the action so he should not be too frightening after his first scene.
When Victoria (played by Helen Mirren) is introduced, there are bodies on the floor of her hotel room. One man is still alive and gags for breath but Victoria puts her foot on his throat. The camera moves away from the man and he does not make any more noise so, presumably, he is dead. Later, Victoria is sitting by the side of a bathtub while on the phone to Frank. There are legs sticking out of it and she casually pours chemicals into the tub; steam rises from the bodies and although nothing is mentioned in the dialogue, it is clear that she is destroying the bodies.
The rest of the action in this movie is relatively family friendly. There are a few mild mentions in the dialogue to torture although there is one stronger moment where a knife is held near a man’s face and another character says that they will give him a ‘Chechen facelift’ but they are stopped before anything happens. There is also a brief but graphic shot of two men being stabbed in the chest and one of charred bodies sitting in a burning vehicle, however it is made clear that the people in the vehicle were already dead before being burned.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘RED 2’ is a fantastically directed comedy movie which, other than a few moderate moments of violence, should be suitable for most members of the family. The majority of the violence is dealt with by quick camera cuts and very little blood or gore is seen. There is infrequent, moderate cursing throughout and so, depending on your attitude to bad language, we feel that this movie should be appropriate for kids aged 8 and over, although children who are sensitive to violence may find some of the scenes a little distressing.
- Violence: 3/5
- Emotional Distress: 2/5 (an established character is seemingly killed towards the beginning of the movie; his friends attend his funeral and become a little emotional)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (the ‘bad’ characters are quite violent and are seen to kill anyone who stands in their way)
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (Han is stripped naked and while nothing explicit is seen, not a lot is left to the imagination!)
- Bad Language: 3/5 (infrequent but mostly moderate cursing and blasphemy throughout. The term ‘sexting’ is used once, one character says ‘eff off’ and another holds two fingers up to curse at someone else)
- Dialogue: 3/5 (mentions of torture, killing, death and suicide pills)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of friendship, protecting the people you care about, not underestimating people based on age, the importance in keeping a relationship exciting, doing what is morally right, and judging who to trust.
Words by Laura Record