Though the original Red was a comic action film that was a surprise hit, Dean Parisot’s sequel Red 2 tries laying on the comedy with a trowel, most of which falls deadly flat. The action stuff is as good as one expects from today’s high flying bang-for-the-buck action movies, but despite a busy script with loads of characters and enough crosses and double-crosses to induce a migraine, Red 2 simply isn’t as much fun as it could or should have been.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 56 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, UltraVioletkeep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 11/26/2013
Taken prisoner by government operative Jack Horton (Neal McDonough), retired black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is quizzed about a Cold War weapon of mass destruction code-named Nightshade. When Moses escapes custody, he knows he must find out what all of this is about since the feds have placed him, his ditzy girl friend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), and his loopy best friend Marvin (John Malkovich) on a domestic terrorist blacklist and have set a number of international black-ops killers like former friend Victoria (Helen Mirren), Russian former lover Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and lethal Korean hit man Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee) on their trail. The journey to discovery takes them from Paris to London to Moscow where the weapon’s inventor Dr. Bailey (Anthony Hopkins) has been held prisoner in an underground Kremlin dungeon for thirty-two years.
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
The worst mistake screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber made in their script was including the consistently irritating and bungling presence of Frank’s girl friend who ridiculously insists she wants adventure and excitement and assumes this certain-death mission will be the place to find it. With any semblance of reality thrown away almost from the get-go (and it only gets more fantasy-centered from there), one must settle instead for the action stunt sequences which, one must admit, are as good or better than in the first film. Frank’s escape from the CIA near the beginning is classic Bond/Bourne stuff only with a much older protagonist, and a couple of car chases through Paris and London and some great fight scenes (one between Frank and Korean assassin Han is wonderfully staged) hold one’s attention and make the domestic nonsense between Frank and Sarah partially endurable. It’s absurd, of course, for Han to shoot up an entire French street, numerous cars and buildings without any police presence at all or any sign of citizenry phoning in or taking pictures of the mayhem and his not worrying ever about moving around the city unmolested by authorities or being able to leave the country at will. Director Dean Parisot does what he can with the predictable twists and turns with the characters not always being what they appear to be and the plot conveniently going in directions that defy logic, but such “surprises” are part and parcel of this kind of adventure tale.
Bruce Willis really tries to make the comic exasperation with Mary-Louise Parker work in the film’s first half, but it stubbornly refuses to generate much real laughter. He’s much more comfortable with the action stuff, of course, which he can do without breaking much of a sweat. Parker seems woozily unfocused for much of the film, an actor’s choice that only makes her character of Sarah even more irritating and unbearable. John Malkovich has the pop-eyed paranoiac down to a science, and Anthony Hopkins matches him crazy for crazy as Dr. Bailey. It’s always fun to see such a respected actress like Helen Mirren shouldering submachine guns and blasting everyone to kingdom come though she doesn’t really advance anything with her character in this sequel from what she did in the first film (yes, Brian Cox has a return cameo pitching some woo to the lady in a couple of scenes). Catherine Zeta-Jones makes a sexy Russian foil to Parker’s jealous American, Neal McDonough plays another corrupt government official that he’s gotten quite adept with, and Byung-hun Lee is a formidable presence as the one man kill squad Han.
The film has been framed at its theatrical 2.40:1 aspect ratio and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Color depth is strong throughout, and flesh tones are mostly natural if in some early scenes a tiny bit on the purple side. Sharpness is also mostly consistently excellent though there are some occasional long shots which are soft and don’t match shots before or after them. Black levels are excellent. The film has been divided into 18 chapters.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix does not disappoint. Like most action films of today, there is a strong surround presence throughout but especially during battle scenes with weapons firing across and through the soundstage to great effect. Alan Silvestri’s score, sometimes whimsical and sometimes forceful, gets the surround treatment, too. Dialogue has been superbly recorded and has been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 5/5
The Red 2 Experience (34:44, HD): director Dean Parisot, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber, stunt coordinator Paul Jennings along with most of the leading stars in the company discuss the various characters in the piece, the various weaponry that becomes a part of the action, the tactics in the staging of the action scenes, and the stunt work.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
Gag Reel (4:24, HD)
Deleted Scenes (4:27. HD): five scenes are presented in montage form.
Promo Trailers (HD): Ender’s Game and The Expendables 2.
DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet: disc and code sheet enclosed.
For fans of the first Red, Red 2 won’t be quite the breath of fresh air or delightful surprise that the original film was. If you can get past much of the comic relationship stuff that misfires, you might find the film an acceptable rental. The picture and sound certainly won’t disappoint in the least.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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