How could you improve on Red‘s funny, quirky people and relationships. Its pretty serious action that you can’t take fully seriously and a few plot twists just to keep it spicy. Well you amp up the action with a very violent bad guy and a particularly bad ass grey guy (bad then good), you make the relationships even more awkward and twist up the plot some more. You do this whilst keeping everything fun and relatively light. Oh, and ramp up the humor a bit. Finally, you hit the comedic timing and movement like a well run ballet. I have an opportunity, via GOFOBO to see a preview of Red 2 and it is one of those rare sequels that improves on the original. This is PG-13 for a reason – some nasty violence (yes over the top, so funny but still), some potty humor and sexual innuendo.
The chemistry of the old cast merges very well with some really killer additions to an already stellar cast. Let’s talk about the old timers first. John Malkovich’s facial expressions should be awarded their own category at the Oscars. He continues to be quirky and brilliant while maintaining the ability to look absolutely dumb-founded. Helen Mirren somehow manages to be cooler and more nonchalant in this update. As does her partner in crime, Brian Cox. Her counterpoint to the rest of the team continues to heighten the others awkwardness. Mary-Louise Parker is no slouch at interesting facial expressions herself. And those eyes. ‘Nough said. Finally, Bruce Willis is the perfect straight-man through it all. He is the constant that carries all of the other delightful moments with the trademarked smirk.
The new team doesn’t sit in the shadow of the old guard. Byung-hun Lee as Han is great. All the action you expect and the ability to blend in the comedic which you may not. Catherine Zeta-Jones sizzles on the screen. David Thewlis (known to many of us through his brilliant role of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series) has a relatively short but memorable role. Poor Neal McDonough is a heartless, ruthless bad guy; it must be the steel grey, blue eyes. The only movie I can remember where he was sort of good was Minority Report and he still had to chase the good guy. He is, appropriately, despicable. Then there is Anthony Hopkins. Wow is he good. He almost has you taking the movie seriously for a bit.
In short, you have a stellar cast that acts like an ensemble one; they play very well together. You have some over the top action that allows you to not take it brutish nature too seriously, some potty humor that doesn’t go too long rolled into a brilliantly timed, played and filmed comedy. Well played by all.