Film Title: RED 2
Director: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta Jones, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins
Running Time: 116 min
Well, I suppose it’s as well for them all to enjoy a bit of fresh air. It can’t be good for these veterans to sit around the house eating mints and shouting at Antiques Roadshow.
As it happens, the latest of several cinematic outings for distinguished pensioners is better than we had a right to expect. Scattering cracking lines and absurd set-pieces across a vast forest of unnecessarily complicated plot, RED 2 manages to raise more laughs than its predecessor and warm the cockles more heartily than either Expendables episode. At no stage does anybody execute a jiu-jitsu move, pause painfully, grasp his or her back and groan: “I’m getting too old for this.” This constitutes some sort of advance.
It seems most unlikely that you have enough time on your hands to care what happens in the plot. Be aware that it has something to do with a nuclear device invented many years ago by Anthony Hopkins at his most crazily distracted. You know what we mean. He paws the ground with a lazy foot. He delivers four syllables to the ground, turns up the volume, delivers another four syllables to the sky and then returns his attentions to the carpet. He’s been doing this for 40 years and it remains a pleasure to watch.
Watch the trailer - Red 2
Come to think of it, the trick to RED 2’s success is its willingness to allow the actors to roar through all their greatest hits at the loudest possible volume (no blasted “new material” here). Aloof and superior, Helen Mirren even gets to impersonate the Queen when attempting to finesse her way into a lunatic asylum. John Malkovich is creepy. Bruce Willis is weary. Mary-Louise Parker – the aghast, plucky eyes of the audience – has a line in double-takes that would have impressed Cary Grant.
Only Catherine Zeta-Jones gives cause for regret. A decade and a half ago, when she played Sean Connery’s love interest in Entrapment, we squirmed at the inappropriateness of it all. She may now come across a little like the lady captain of a Swansea golf club, but it still seems somewhat ungallant to throw her among the oldies without clarifying that she comes from a different generation. Jeez, Dame Helen is almost as old as Catherine’s husband.