Red 2 – Once Was Enough – Review

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Photo Courtesy Summit Entertainment

Hollywood will never learn the lesson, but, most of the time, you should stop while you are ahead.  Not every movie deserves or needs a sequel.

Bruce Willis stars as Frank – our beloved, cantankerous retired CIA agent who just wants to live a quiet, safe life with his new gal pal, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker).   Of course, that can’t happen.

An old job has come back to haunt Frank.  In 1979, he and his partner, Marvin (John Malkovich), were part of Operation Nightshade, which has something to do with a nuclear weapon that they snuck into Moscow.  It all went bad, and some think Frank and Marvin know where the weapon is located.

Now, Jack (Neal McDonough) and Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones) are trying to capture the duo, while Han (Byung-hun Lee) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) have been hired to kill them.

What is Operation Nightshade?

Can Frank, Sarah and Marvin find it first?

Red 2 fails to have 10% of the energy and fun of the first one, and makes you wonder why this idea got past the brainstorming stage (OK, we all know it got past the brainstorming stage because Summit figured they could make a boatload and a trainload of money, because art doesn’t matter).

The plot is incomprehensible.

The comedy falls horribly flat and even the action wasn’t enough to wake up the dude who fell asleep sitting behind me.

Red 2 isn’t so much a movie, but a slog that never feels like it is going to end.

All of Sarah’s constant harping about wanting to be in on the action and jealousy when they run into one of Frank’s old flames is the kind of stuff that would cause someone to dump the boyfriend or girlfriend who just wouldn’t shut up about it, so I can’t figure out why writers Jon and Erich Hoeber kept going to that dry comedic well.  It doesn’t make Sarah more interesting nor endearing.

Mirren is sleepwalking through most of the movie as if she realizes this stuff is lame, so she might as well coast and collect that big fat paycheck without getting hurt.

Malkovich, who was the best part of Red, is left with almost nothing to do.

And, Willis might be coasting more than Mirren.

I don’t blame the actors for this.  I blame bad, uncompelling writing and action scenes that couldn’t get you interested if they were all performed by a naked Zeta-Jones.

Red 2 is one Red too many.

1waffles_sml1 Waffle (Out of 4)

Red 2 is rated PG-13 for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material   


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