Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Movie review: Red 2, dir Dean Parisot (2013)

The best thing about this action comedy is Mary-Louise Parker as Sarah Ross, the love interest of the Bruce Willis character, former intelligence operative Frank Moses. Sarah is funny and whimsical, characteristics you don’t usually match with spy movies or action flics. Parker’s eye rolls, grimaces, lip-twistings, and deadpan delivery of solid one-liners do a lot of work in the face of a good deal of unimaginative stuff that is packaged as thriller material.

Neal McDonough as Jack Horton, the lethal functionary of an uncaring US administration, is as boring and predictable as an umbrella in a rainshower, but Anthony Hopkins as the villain Bailey, Helen Mirren as the gun-toting Victoria and John Malkovich as Marvin do good work highlighting the way that such movies exploit common tropes for effect.

Having said that, the madness trope Mirren and Hopkins play with is somewhat overused. You’re often left to decide, watching this movie, whether you should barrack for your side or groan at another use of a tired line or a stagey plot device. Perhaps you are meant to do both.

Parker manages to keep the viewer engrossed for the duration by being prone to kissing random men and by dint of her poignant jealousy. There’s something of Goldie Hawn about Parker in this film, a fey, wise, and hilarious woman who loves strongly and who keeps her head on her shoulders while the rest of the world goes mad. Seen on Netflix.

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