RED 2 Review: A Sequel That Delivers

RED 2 ReviewI got to see an early screening of RED 2, which is one of a number of comic book based movies hitting theaters this summer. Of course, there are no brightly-costumed superheroes in RED 2, so most probably wouldn’t know it was a comic book movie except for the DC Comics logo at the beginning and the comic panels used for scene transitions.

The year 2013 has not been a great year for sequels at the box office, but RED 2 is a film that breaks the trend of sequels disappointing. RED 2 is a worthy follow-up to the original RED movie, and it firmly establishes RED as a franchise that will likely continue for many years to come.

If you enjoyed the first RED movie, then you are likely to enjoy RED 2 even more. Action comedies are difficult beasts to pull off at the box office, because if the film goes too far in either direction, then it doesn’t work. However, RED 2 blends together the elements of both action and comedy better than any film in recent memory.

There are numerous laugh-out-loud moments in RED 2, but there’s also a very real sense of danger. The action sequences are very well-choreographed, including a very intense fight scene between Byung-hun Lee’s character Han and Bruce Willis’ character Frank. There are also some epic car stunts that rival anything you might see in a Fast & Furious movie.

The central plot of RED 2 revolves around a missing portable nuclear device. The device has some rather unique properties, which make it highly desirable for several governments. The plot is solid and is easy to follow along with a couple twists, turns, and surprises along the way.

However, what really makes RED 2 a fun and enjoyable ride is that the movie focuses on the characters. Too many action movies fall into the trap of boring, cookie cutter characters, but RED 2 has diverse, quirky characters. Bruce Willis’ character Frank and John Malkovich’s character Marvin play expertly off one another, delivering several of the biggest laughs in the movie.

Mary Louise Parker, who plays Sarah, shines in the film as well, especially when Frank’s ex-flame Miranda Wood (played by Catherine Zeta Jones) shows up. Sarah has a rather interesting way of getting information from people, which proves troubling for Frank. Hellen Mirren is also highly entertaining, factoring into some of the most fast-paced action sequences in the movie.

Anthony Hopkins delivers exactly what you would expect Anthony Hopkins to deliver. Hopkins doesn’t just show up for a cameo, he actually has one of the central roles in the film and gets plenty of screen time in the last half of the movie.

While I’ve intentionally kept this review light on spoilers, RED 2 does contain some rather shocking twists, which include both fake deaths and real deaths. Not everyone will be making it back for RED 3 needless to say, but enough of the cast survives that we can’t wait for part three.