TIZIANA FABI/ Getty
I couldn’t get into Red when it came out in 2010, which is weird as I really love crap action movies, and Red, with its incredibly high-caliber cast was a cut above the average action team-up flick. But even though the cast clearly had a ball making it, I didn’t have a ball watching it. And I also didn’t have a ball watching the latest trailer for Red 2. It’s probably because half the trailer for an action movie is more concerned with the (totally unnecessary) romantic B plot.
Red lost me because the actual reason for everything happening was pretty weak and the action sequences were a little too far apart; I got bored at bits. Red 2 is losing me, though, because it looks bloated. There are two new people, Anthony Hopkins (…is poor?), Catherine Zeta-Jones (to satisfy that romantic B plot), and GI: Joe’s Byung-hun Lee replaces Karl Urban as Guy In Suit Who Chases Plucky Heroes. There are two shots that are virtually the same of cars spinning out as people fire through windows and/or scoop up would-be passengers—a move directly ripped off from Wanted—and there’s a whole lot of setup involving a bomb, a contract killer and an ex-girlfriend for a movie that could have been satisfied with “retirees fire rocket launchers” and nothing more and still been tons of fun.
I’m sure I’m in the minority—Lainey, for instance, loved Red—but I can’t help but feel it’s The Expendables for the arthouse crowd, except The Expendables doesn’t take itself seriously. But Red 2, with its on-trend terrorism plot and girlfriend-pandering romantic subplot—because apparently women won’t watch action movies unless someone is falling in love—Red 2 is taking itself at least somewhat seriously. Which is too bad because the best parts of Red—and this trailer—are when the actors cut loose and revel in getting to do absurd things like Helen Mirren disposing of a body or wailing on her juniors who get lippy. Bogging that down with a worldly plot and unneeded romantic tension is just a waste of the precious resource that is Helen Mirren.
(Lainey: one of the big reasons I was into Red -- as a rental, I suppose -- is … John Malkovich. Come ON. Here he is in February. Look at his pants. The answer is in his pants.)