Sunday, July 21, 2013

Red 2

“Red 2” is yet another sequel that’s better than the original, though in this case not quite enough better to recommend running out and paying movie-theater prices. You won’t be upset, though, if you rent it. As often happens with sequels, both the cast and the writers have settled into the characters, and a lightness of tone pervades the proceedings, whereas plot necessarily loomed larger in the first film. Here, plot is just an excuse for interactions between the players, and several earn our goodwill, most notably Mary-Louise Parker as Bruce Willis’s wife, who does not in fact want him to retire to a life of domesticity; like Alicia Bridges, she wants some action too. John Malkovich’s Marvin Boggs is less of a conspiracy nut than in the original, and easier to warm to as a consequence; he has some very funny moments. So do Brian Cox, as Helen Mirren’s foot-fetishist Russian boyfriend Ivan; Catherine Zeta-Jones, as a KGB operative who’s Willis’s self-labeled Kryptonite (she and Parker share a great cat-fighting rapport); and Byung-hun Lee (he of the incredibly sculpted body), who can’t get over Willis’s stealing his private plane. There’s a lot to like in “Red 2,” but just a bit too much cheese to go with these crackers.

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