Action Movie Friday: RED 2

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: RED 2
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release: 2013
Genre: romantic comedy, action, spy, thriller
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Catherine Zeta Jones, Byung-hun Lee, Anthony Hopkins, Neal McDonough, David Thewlis
Director: Dean Parisot
Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner
Distributor: Summit (Lionsgate)
Budget: $84 Million
Box Office: $148 Million

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%

Gingersnaps Rating: 3 3/4 Gingersnaps!

Summary:

Frank and Sarah have settled into a boring everyday life. Until Marvin shows up. Someone has implicated them in the top secret Project Nightshade and leaked it onto the internet. Once again, the US government wants Frank, Marvin and anyone who helped him dead. They’ve set the best contract killer in the world on Frank’s tail; Han Cho Bai. A man Frank crossed back when he was an active agent. Frank, Marvin and Sarah need to get to the bottom of this and there may be only one man who can help them, the Frog. While on the trail of this mysterious Frog, they meet Katja, an old love interest of Frank’s and Russian counter intelligence. Will Katja help them or will she betray them for her country? Frank is determined to protect Sarah. Sarah is determine to prove that she can survive in this life just as well as Frank. They need to find out what Project Nightshade is before it is too late. What is the use of being retired, if old jobs keep coming back to haunt you?

Review:

On an $84 million dollar budget, this movie almost made 2/3 back of that in domestic ticket sales and managed to barely scrape up that much (Depending on what website you look at) in foreign sales. Suffice to say, there probably won’t be a RED 3. Not unless Summit (now a Lionsgate company) is really desperate to have yet another franchise. But I mean, Expendables, The Hunger Games. Summit itself is doing Divergent and they had a huge money maker in Twilight. They probably don’t really need RED. Sad? Maybe. It really would depend on where they tried to take RED 3 for whether or not it would be a viable franchise. I mean, it could go one of two ways. Sarah and Frank have wacky fun adventures with Martin and Victoria. Or Sarah and Frank are having a baby and there are some sort of wacky adventures. With what they did with RED 2, I’m not really trusting that they wouldn’t go with option number 2 for RED 3.

As of 2013, Erich Hoeber was writing a script for RED 3. A year later, they announced RED 3 will be set to release for Dec. 2nd 2016. Well, I’m a bit surprised. We’ll see. Nothing else has been announced, so I have my doubts.

At some point, someone decided that they needed to remind the viewers that this film series was based upon a comic book. As if the DC Logo at the beginning wasn’t enough. So, throughout the film they took scenes and made them ‘look’ like they were pages from a comic book before moving onto the next one scene. Look, in the last movie, I forgave the little animated post cards to tell us where we were in the United States. It was actually a little cute. This serves no purpose whatsoever. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. And it isn’t even done well. It starts the movie off super slow, when we just should have jumped straight to Sarah and Frank at Costco and just interrupts each scene. I can tell when we’re switching important scenes in the movie, thank you.

The movie starts out well enough, until Katja is introduced and then the Frank and Sarah plot goes down the rails of utter and complete predictability and I roll my eyes. Really? We couldn’t come up with a straight, Frank and Sarah have wacky adventures as people try to kill them? No. We have to add an old flame of Frank’s who also happens to be intelligence and very good at what she does. So, there is the heavy handed predictable Sarah gets jealous and tries to beat her at her own game. Katja exerts her power over Frank. Frank lets her. That could have all been cut out, there would have been a much better movie in its place. Sincerely me. Sure, okay, Frank is afraid of Sarah getting hurt. We can keep that. Despite the fact that the reason why Sarah is with him is her love of espionage and travel. That is the glue that holds them together. We could have spent the whole, almost two hour movie, focused on both of their emotions over Frank trying to protect her and Sarah wanting to be able to protect herself and proving that she has skills that Frank and Marvin just don’t have and instead we get distracted with this whole Katja nonsense. Otherwise, the larger plot was interesting and funny. I’m eating half the cookie.

Explosions, yes, there were explosions. Yay!

There were also several entertaining fights. Bruce Willis and Byung-hun Lee go after each other several times. Byung-hun Lee also has fights with random groups. A cookie for the fights. However, a sad note that neither Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta Jones nor Mary-Louise Parker weren’t given any fight scenes.

I’m being much more critical of this movie and its treatment of women than I was of the first one. Sarah has now had a chance to actually learn something. Overall, it is a bit disappointing. Partly because of the “Sarah is jealous of Katja, Katja tries to steal Frank” plot. Sarah isn’t given any chance to show she can be a spy and that her capabilities make her a good one on her own. As awesome as her scene with the Frog is, it was fueled by jealousy of Katja and more spur of the moment than anything else. Unless, planned in advance by Martin and Frank, Sarah’s main capability as a spy seems to be making out with whatever male she’s trying to distract. Katja was grossly underutilized in the story and is given plot predictable ending number one to help inspire a man. Helen Mirren was a delight as usual. Her part was the only one that seemed to be given any thought to whatsoever. She’s shown to be competent and capable without having to use excess violence to keep up with the boys. I’m eating three quarters of this cookie.

The world building remained consistent with the first movie, slightly over the top, comic book style. Though Marvin’s paranoia has seemingly gotten less. Maybe he’s fake died one too many times or the LSD is finally wearing off. There appears to be some faulty science involved, but in the world of comic books, faulty science is pretty much the order of the day. Nothing in the world building drew me too out of it, so it may keep the cookie.

RED 2 was a mildly disappointing sequel to a really great film. While the overall plot was engaging and interesting, the plots between the characters of Frank, Sarah and Katja were clichéd and unnecessary. With most of the female characters competency ignored for said plotline. Overall, it’s a fun diverting movie, if a bit predictable on the back end. Three and three quarter gingersnaps

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