Thursday, 15 August 2013

RED 2 (2013)

Not as scrumptious a popcorn flick as its predecessor even though RED 2 has a bigger budget, bigger locations, and a larger story

As far as popcorn flicks go, the original RED is a great comedy precisely because it actually follows a few simple rules about screenwriting. Firstly in a comedy, there has to be a good gimmick and an even better twist. The gimmick here is the geriatric, retired secret agents being brought back to the deadly world of espionage. The twist is despite (or because) of their age and old school methods, they’re actually deadlier than what the modern world has to offer. The second test is what I call the “Blade test”. Blade fails the Blade Test because it’s just a gangster movie that merely happens to have vampires as its underworld criminals and mafia. The story and gags in RED wouldn’t work if it were any other bunch of spies on any other old cloak and dagger, double-cross assured mission.

As much as RED was a success in our measures, RED 2 cannot be considered a better film or an even great film as it forgets the two rules that made its predecessor great. The RED gang is reunited again because once again, the CIA and other national spy agencies are after their heads. This time, it involves their previous involvement in a beyond top secret Cold War project – which they barely remember, to be honest. And this calls for globe-trotting road trip to figure out what the Cold War project was even about, setting up introductions for more Cold War era retired spies and operatives, and a series of crosses and double-crosses.

I’ll admit that there is a whole lot of interesting stuff that happens in RED 2. Almost none of it really requires the characters to be the ones from RED. The team goes about their shenanigans – none of which involve them utilising ‘obsolete’ old school espionage methods. Even when Anthony Hopkins is brought out as an elderly, insitutionalised former “Da Vinci of Death”, the screenwriters forget how to fit him into the original RED gimmick and twist.

Flashes of brilliance are brief, manifesting themselves a few scenes laced with macabre humour. Helen Mirren dissolves the bodies of her victims (“to keep myself in practice”) and MI6 masters in a bathtub with sangfroid, as though it were a matter of house-cleaning. John Malkovich fakes his own death and shows up at his own funeral in the casket so to see the collection of retired generals, spies, and war widows (“who will be eternally grateful”) turn up.

RED 2 has so much going on that’s crammed into its nearly 2-hour running time that if you’re not observant, you might be fooled into thinking it’s a great watch. It’s only merely entertaining.

1 comment:

alvarny said...

The plot was fine, but there was no climax to the entire movie. There was no build up, nothing exciting or truly memorable; even the twist at the end of the movie wasn't really executed or paced well.

It is pretty disappointing.