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Red 2: Lauded actors floating on a sea of action-flick clichés

Red 2 stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren

1 out of 4 stars

Title
Red 2
Written by
Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Directed by
Dean Parisot
Starring
Bruce Willis, John Malkovich
Genre
Action
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English
Year
2013

How many Oscar winners does it take to save the world? Red 2 gathers together a collection of lauded thespians – from A(nthony Hopkins) to (Catherine) Z(eta-Jones) – and leaves them to float on a sea of action-flick clichés.

The only one to keep his head above water is John Malkovich, and that's because he clearly doesn't care about the material: His character, an ex-secret operative named Marvin with a fetish for bizarre headgear, is an affable afterthought to the more square-jawed secret agent played by Bruce Willis.

Like The Expendables, the Red series is ostensibly about veteran professionals who are still lethal weapons (the title is an acronym for "Retired and Extremely Deadly), but the one-liners keep missing the target. (It's quite possible that Helen Mirren has never had to speak such terrible dialogue in her life.)

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Confusingly shot and edited to ribbons, the action scenes are only barely more comprehensible than the plot, which involves a stolen weapon of mass destruction.

The characters run all around the world, from Paris to Moscow to London, trying to prevent a bomb from going off without realizing that they're actually all in it.

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About the Author

Adam Nayman is a contributing editor for Cinema Scope and writes on film for Montage, Sight and Sound, Reverse Shot and Cineaste. He is a lecturer at Ryerson and the University of Toronto and his first book, a critical study of Paul Verhoeven's SHOWGIRLS, will be published in 2014 by ECW Press. More

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