One sequel, one film with a “2” in the name that isn’t, and a very sore tummy from eating a landfill-engulfing quantity of jalapeños for dinner.
“What happens in the Kremlin stays in the Kremlin!”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: the good guys from the first film are targeted by the nastiest hired killers on the planet because they apparently have some information that they don’t
See it if you like: spy thrillers with a nice edge of humour
Whereas the original RED had some exceptionally comic book-esque scenes (the sequence in the shipping yard being the prime example), these are generally lacking in this sequel which goes more for chop-socky fast-paced combat and over-the-top scenes with guns instead. The good thing is that it doesn’t suffer as a result.
All of the central original cast are there, and this time joined by some other big names. Anthony Hopkins turns up at one point, but I can’t go into detail as it may be spoiler-some. Suffice to say he’s brilliant and shows an impressive range with a very entertaining character.
Also appearing is one of my favourite unsung actors, Neal McDonough. Since seeing him in Boomtown (a superb series which should never have been cancelled), I’d always looked forward to seeing him in things and he is spot on in this. He plays a very determined, no holds barred, whatever it takes to get what he wants operative.
Add to this Catherine Zeta-Jones who has more slap on than three women working at the Boots make-up counter, David Thewlis as a hard-to-catch seller of secrets and Byung-hun Lee as the world’s most dangerous contract killer and you have a very good cast indeed.
The story is also good, and the dialogue fizzes. In particular, and as in the first film, Willis and Malkovich play incredibly well off each other.
There’s everything a decent spy story needs. Guns, women, explosions, tension, backstabbing, cars, guns, more explosions, poison gas, things blowing up… All with a decent number of laughs thrown in.
Yup, this one’s good.
“Are we people?”
Plot-in-a-nutshell: Uncovered undercover DEA agent his patsy find themselves hunted for stealing the wrong person’s money
See it if you like: gun-thirsty action thrillers which still make you think
Second up was this nice twist on the buddy story starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Without giving too much away (no more than the trailer does, anyway), the two are drug-running and robbing places left, right and centre… but unknown to Stigman (Wahlberg), Washington’s character Bobby is an undercover DEA agent.
Thing is, despite this little fact coming to life at an inopportune time, the two end up thrown together in a bid to keep themselves alive and get revenge on various parties who’ve wronged them.
It’s pretty violent, but like RED 2, has some very humorous moments. The dialogue and chemistry between the two leads is great to watch with some fast-paced verbal jousting that’s either the result of a lot of rehearsal or a natural link. Either way, it makes many scenes very entertaining indeed.
Importantly, the story is good as well although it’s a little bit easy to guess who the overall bad guy is. This doesn’t steal any of the story’s thunder, though, and it rides well until a suitably chaotic and blood-soaked finalé.