MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Red 2’ offers more zaniness than intrigue

This film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment shows Helen Mirren in a scene from "Red 2." The film will be released nationwide on Friday, July 19. (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Frank Masi)

This film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment shows Helen Mirren in a scene from “Red 2.” The film will be released nationwide on Friday, July 19. (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Frank Masi)

By M. Scott Morris/Daily Journal

If you like your violence with a healthy helping of smirk, let me suggest “Red 2.” The smirk comes from Bruce Willis, and it barely leaves his face from start to finish. I’m here to say that’s not a bad thing.

“Red 2” stars Willis as Frank Moses, a retired CIA agent who was the best in the business. For some reason, bad guys keep forgetting that and try to kill him, even though he’s retired and living in the suburbs.

Before you can say “action comedy,” Frank and his lady friend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), are traveling around the globe, dodging bombs and bullets all the way.

And they have help, including Victoria (Helen Mirren), an elegant hitwoman; Marvin (John Malkovich), a guy who would be considered paranoid except everyone is out to get him; and Ivan (Brian Cox), a former soviet operative who’s always up for a good time.

Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Thewlis and Byung-hun Lee join the fun and cause varying degrees of chaos for the other characters.

Any attempt to take “Red 2” seriously would be a mistake. There are strong laughs throughout, as long as you’re not offended by cartoon violence.

I was surprised they made a sequel to “Red” (2010), which stands for “retired, extremely dangerous,” but I found the follow-up far more entertaining than the first.

The cast and crew definitely got into a groove that had very little to do with logic. In the real world, Frank wouldn’t have survived the first shoot-out, no matter how good he might’ve been back in the day.

But the chemistry among all the actors plus that trademark smirk make this an entertaining trip around the world. There’s far more zaniness than intrigue, but it works.

I give “Red 2” a B plus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

Wizard review

Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Red 2” an A minus.
“It’s every bit as good as ‘Red.’ I had a blast.”