wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)
Bruce Willis and his team of veterans are back, and this time they seem to be as clueless about what to do, as the audience is. The great cast and some goofy lines do intermittently make up for some shoddy writing, making Red 2 a passable watch, but nothing more.Read more
Sometimes, the mere thought of reboots, remakes and sequels coming out of Hollywood these days exhausts you. In fact, even complaining about it has become passé. That was quite how I felt before I watched Red 2, despite the fact that it stars some of the most dependable names you can think of. Now these names I’m talking about are terrific as usual. But, yet again, a predictable and contrived plot that meanders around itself for no apparent reason lets Red 2 down. It is fun in spurts, but never enough to truly elevate the film.
Taking off from about where the previous film ended, retired CIA agent Frank Moses and call center employee Sarah are together now, trying to lead a quiet life. However, Frank is unexpectedly put on the run when he learns that he’s a hunted man again, and it may have something to do with a Cold War weapons project. Then ensues the madness.
Yes, there is the deadpan humour to keep you company throughout the length of the film. And there’s Bruce Willis as Frank Moses, who always kicks behinds even when he’s sleepwalking through his role. Most importantly, at least for me personally, there’s Helen Mirren, who, in her brief role, shows the boys – Willis included – just how a gun must truly be handled on screen. Together with John Malkovich reprising his adorable character as Frank’s friend Marvin and Anthony Hopkins who turns out the best performance of the film as the ex-scientist gone bonkers, the cast of the film ensure that at least you aren’t shifting in your seats all throughout, waiting for the film to end.
But the writing takes such blatant liberties and forces so many conveniences down your throat, that you’re always questioning logic in the film, even though you know that you are just not supposed to. And I’m not just talking about the fundamental premise of near-sextagenerians numbering in single digits bringing down entire squads all by themselves. Every time our heroes so easily enter buildings, known to be heavily fortified with the best in security, then wreak mayhem there and escape unscathed, all for a purpose that seems almost pointless, all you can do is heave a sigh, and wait for the next bit of screenplay frivolity.
Also, with action films being almost the norm of the day, it seems to have become very difficult to truly design and execute path-breaking action off late. Save for one fun car chase sequence that has Dame Helen Lydia Mirren once again adding some delightful - ahem - icing on the cake, even the action is of the déjà vu variety.
Director Dean Parisot, whose last theatrical feature was the watchable-but-forgettable Jim Carrey-starrer Fun With Dick and Jane, seems to specialize in precisely that kind of film. Besides, I couldn’t help feeling, more than once, that this was a cast that was a little bit out of his league. They seemed to run on autopilot, without the firm hand of a director’s vision guiding them. Or was I expecting too much there?
Red 2, quite like its predecessor, would make for a passable DVD watch. In fact, purely because of the effortlessly charming cast, the two films back-to-back wouldn’t make for a bad lazy afternoon double feature. But don’t expect to walk in to the theatre and leave it feeling completely satisfied.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
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