Red 2’ is an unnecessary sequel

Retired secret agent Frank (Bruce Willis) and his buddies suddenly find themselves international targets in Red 2.
Jeffrey M. Anderson

Two stars

Red 2 Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker. Directed by Dean Parisot. Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.

As directed by Dean Parisot, whose last feature was the dreadful Fun With Dick and Jane remake, Red 2 is like a tortoise-and-hare race played out with a hundred hares on a dodgeball court and ending in a tie. Parisot, or whatever office intern was allowed to do reshoots, keeps the plot moving quickly, jumping all over the world to cover up its general nothingness.

Such as it is, retired secret agent Frank (Bruce Willis), his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) and his best pal Marvin (John Malkovich) suddenly find themselves international targets, which is somehow related to their failing to protect a weapons scientist long ago. Now everyone is looking for a weapon stashed somewhere in Russia. Helen Mirren and Brian Cox return from the first movie, and new cast members unwisely join in. These are adults in a movie made for brain-dead teens.

The rhythm is badly bungled, with lurches and cheats all over the place. The acting is off-balance, with Parker seeming like a weirdly comic drunk and Willis’ aggravated double-takes cut too short. Only Malkovich slides beneath the material and manages a few snazzy one-liners. Clearly Red 2 was the product of business meetings, rather than any creative impulse. It’s a needless thing that leaves crimson smudges on the original movie’s good name.


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