Monday, November 25, 2013

Loving him was like Re-eh-eh-ed Re-eh-eh-ed

RED (2013)

Did I just Taylor Swift reference that title? Yup. And there ain't shit you can do about it. Hey, not my fault that damn blonde is everywhere. Smiling and singing and everything, and looking all tall and goody goody. On a side note how is T-swizzie single? Like, do you ever just really sit down and wonder what has to be wrong with this girl for her to get dumped by a Jonas Brother... hahaha. Ah pop culture. Anyway. Moving on.

So a couple years back a fun flick filled with old timers of all genres hit the scene RED, and had a marginal bit of success (90 million on a 50 million budget). It was fun, fast paced, and so damned packed with talent you could hardly stop yourself from smiling all the way through. They also threw logic (and in one instance physics) out the window in favor of laughs, and cheers. And hey, I'm ok with that.

Let us chat sequel... So the gangs all here (almost) Bruce Willis as the in love, and trying to be normal, Frank Moses. John Malcovich as the crazy and likable Marvin, Hellen Mirren (having probably more fun than she ever has on screen) as the deadly assassin Victoria, and Mary-louise Parker (the ultitate MILF from weeds) as the normal girl Frank fell for, Sarah. What can of trouble can they get into this time around? Well turns out Frank and Marvin were part of a mission years ago to protect a super evil genius that designed the ultimate bomb. Now, it seems the bomb was built, exists and everyone wants it, or wants anyone that knows about it dead. So it looks like retirement will have to wait. Which is a good thing as Sarah has grown tired of the plain, normal life, Frank is giving her. Turns out she's a little bit of a danger whore.

Well... Hellen... thats what you get for making the asian driver joke. 
I said the gang is all here, I lied. Morgan (I am everywhere) Freeman, for some reason does not reprise his role from the first one. Which is missed, his chemistry with some of this legends was great. Though they fill his absence with Catherine Zeta Jones as a former love interest of Frank's, and Anthony Hopkins as the abused (and insane) creator of super weapon. So I guess a Zeta and a Hopkins do equal a Freeman. Well, close anyway.

The story moves along quickly, it's fun, one liner's dropping everywhere. Marvin is a hoot, stepping up for a leading role with Frank, and their friendly/notsofriendly banter should have you grinning the whole way. The twist with Sarah turning out to crave anything but a normal life is great (including a lovely and hilarious end scene). The action however is a little lacking over the first one. Too much cool chatty I dare say.

A new addition Byung-Hun lee (the very entertaining Storm Shadow from the GI JOE movies) as Han, steals most of the best action scenes as the super hitman sent after Frank. He is a natural badass on screen, and I think we will be seeing more of him soon.

At 60 years old, Bruce and John have unique gun fight techniques. 
So you have fun, a great cast, a decent plot, some action... what's wrong? Well there's something, and maybe it's just me. There just never seems to be any real peril here. I mean, this is a film where bad guys aren't really that bad, and badder guys are just misunderstood, and the baddest guys might actually turn out to be friends... and quickly too. There is a part near the end of the second third where a fight occurs. It starts with "I will kill you Frank" (I paraphrase) and ends with "Ok, let's be friends". Its that kind of back and forth that steals away some of the dread, and accomplishment of our heroes.

Something the first one pulled off nicely. I think if you liked the first one, or hey, even if you haven't seen the first one... this is a good time. Not quite as action packed, or cool, as the first one, but maybe a little funnier. And with the cast... you really can't doubt the performances and characters. I just felt they went a little too far into the comedy this time around. Lost some of the grit on the original. Though I should say Helen Mirren's Victoria is still a blast, and manages to have a few of the more vicious moments in the film.

Movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
Action scale 3 out of 5 stars

It's a joke a minute fun time, with a great cast. That perhaps packs a few more laughs than explosions in.

-Chuck Boonsweet

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