Videophiled: More Middle-Age Crazy Action Antics in ‘Red 2′

Red 2 (Summit, Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand) makes the case that our appetite for senior citizen action movies is big enough to support two franchises. This is the more self-consciously comic take, with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren as retired covert agents dragged back to action for yet another contrived plot that involves a deadly secret weapon and a conspiracy to frame our heroes. Every intelligence agency on earth is, of course, ready to carry out contracts on them, while civilian girlfriend Mary-Louise Parker gets drafted into the crew, much to the dismay of Willis.

It’s a basically a tongue-in-cheek James Bond movie with globetrotting old pros proving that they aren’t too old for this s**t. They outsmart and out-act their younger counterparts while tracking down a weapon too dangerous to trust to governments (yet okay to for a paranoid nutcase like Malkovich, who carries around a stick of dynamite for emergencies), and for this one they are joined by Catherine Zeta-Jones (as a Soviet agent) and Anthony Hopkins (as the mad scientist who created the bomb). Korean star Byung-hun Lee makes a colorful addition to the cast and Neal McDonough, David Thewlis and Brian Cox co-star.

There’s a lot of big set pieces, crashing cars and explosions propping up a flimsy plot just so we can enjoy the company of these scene-stealing vets playing in the action movie sandbox. Willis tosses off quips with his lopsided grin, Malkovich mugs around like an escaped lunatic with an arsenal of booby traps and Mirren combines a gift for cold-blooded mayhem with regal authority: a class act in a silly, busy, loud comic book action movie. Which should tell you all you need to know about it.

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