"If there's one thing I know, it's women and covert operations."
If there's one thing I know, it's that if the first film wasn't good, the sequel probably won't be either. That was the case with RED 2 which follows pretty much the same generic formula that it did in the first RED with the new additions of Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins, and Byung-hun Lee. The film has its funny moments, not thanks to screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber (responsible for the terrible screenplays of Whiteout and Battleship), but to its incredible and highly likable cast. Their presence alone and their interactions together elevate this otherwise ridiculous film. I guess that the producers decided to make a sequel considering the world wide success the first film had (despite not being a fan) and this time they brought Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest and Fun with Dick and Jane) to take over the director's chair that Robert Schwentke (RIPD and Flightplan) had left unoccupied. This sequel takes the same formula and similar situations by mixing comedy with over the top action sequences. There is nothing sophisticated or fresh about this film, so don't go into this expecting an engaging and thoughtful trailer.
The plot follows the events from the previous film as Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is trying to enjoy his retired life now with the company of his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), but the relationship is being affected by his overprotective behavior. She is yearning for some action in her life, so when Marvin (John Malkovich) shows up to warn Frank that there are people following them she doesn't hesitate in wanting to come along. But Frank dismisses Marvin and claims he is overreacting and that he and Sarah should continue to go on with their normal lives. It turns out that Marvin was right, as a Pentagon operative named Jack Horton (Neal McDonough) tries to capture Frank and threatens to torture Sarah unless he gives him some important information. Marvin comes to the rescue and explains that they are being hunted due to their previous involvement in a Cold War undercover operation known as Nightshade involving some sort of nuclear weapon. In order to find out more information and discover the reason as to why these men are hunting them down Frank, Sarah, and Marvin travel to Paris and meet up with Russian agent Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who also happens to share a past relationship with Frank. Former MI6 agent, Victoria (Helen Mirren), is hired to kill Frank as well, but being a friend of theirs she gives them the heads up. It seems these former agents have been forced to come out of retirement once again to settle things once and for all.
If you thought the first film was silly, then you will think RED 2 is even more ridiculous considering the over the top action scenes involving car chases and gunshots. The plot is really dumb and light, and the only fun you might get out of this film comes from the cast. I actually liked Anthony Hopkins and Byung-hun Lee in their particular roles here, but they just couldn't do much with the material. Hellen Mirren is such a talented actress that at moments it felt embarrassing to hear her speak out her recycled lines. The cast did seem to have a lot of fun with the lightness of it all and John Malkovich delivers several funny lines, but I just felt this film was dull, stale, and unsatisfying. To be honest I came into this film remembering very little about the first film, and I can imagine I will completely forget about this sequel as well in a few more weeks because it is beyond silly. Silly can be good at times, but here I think they went a little too far with it. I will give this two and a half stars for the cast involved because they are just fun to watch at times.