R.E.D 2 (Preview Screening)

Just before R.E.D 2 hit the cinemas on August 1 in Singapore cinemas, I had the opportunity to watch the preview screening at Shaw Lido and I have to say that it is a movie not to be missed! R.E.D 2 was easy to follow and the characters simple to understand even having not watched its prequel R.E.D. I saw the trailer for R.E.D 2 and found it interesting (enough to watch it and I do not regret watching it!).

R.E.D actually means “Retired, Extremely Dangerous”. So it should be no surprise that the characters are not your ordinary retired government personnel (aka spies) but retired top agents who once dealt with the most covert/top secret/black bag operations. Just like the first installment, the premise of R.E.D 2 revolves around the same retired agents trying to adapt to day-to-day life, with a few new characters to boot.

The movie opens up with Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) wanting to live a normal (mundane) life (with no more killing) with his girlfriend Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), who finds such a lifestyle a bore (she wants more excitement). They are shopping at a departmental store when Frank detects the presence of his best friend, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), still as paranoid as ever and tries to convince Frank that living a ‘normal’ life is futile, even stating, “you haven’t killed anyone in months” (and that is supposedly not very normal for Frank). There are running gags and dark (?) humor that throughout the movie, making it very enjoyable and a good laugh albeit a tad too violent (e.g. killing is done without remorse).

The action scenes and fighting sequences (especially those with Bruce Willis and Lee Byung-hun) were nicely done and pretty cool. Lee Byung-hun as Han, the best contract killer hired to kill Frank (for his supposed knowledge of a project nightshade in the past) was pretty hilarious (ok, maybe it is just me but I never knew that Lee Byung-hun could be so 3-dimensionally funny).

cool car chase scene
a face with a conflicted expression

So the quest to stay alive soon becomes a mission to discover what project nightshade was really all about, which brings the trio (Frank, Sarah, and Marvin) from America to Paris all the way to Russia . While on their mission to find out the truth and stay alive (from Han, the US and even the British government), the trio encounter the characters played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, David Thewlis, and Neal McDonough as their journey unfolds – resulting in natty fist fights, and deliriously over-the-top gun battles.

I especially like the car chase scene where Han (Lee Byung-hun) gets in his expensive (blue) car along with Victoria (Helen Mirren), Frank and Marvin’s old British secret agent friend; looking all cool in and on going car-chasing car battle. In contrast to this cool car chase scene, Sarah hilariously tries to get one over her Russian love rival (for Frank’s attention) in Paris resulting in... a hilariously precarious (not to mention embarrassing) situation involving a mini and a narrow alleyway.

The underling theme of the movie is mostly about old school agents taking on new (usually younger) agents as they are pitted against each other. With most of the main characters (actors) being above the age of forty, it was amazing seeing the fight sequences (not to mention the action that was involved!); moments of action, fun, and entertainment.

Overall, R.E.D 2 is an enjoyable movie to watch with its solid cast, fun bantering between the characters, and good action choreography. Especially recommended for those who love a good laugh, want some good action and a relatively straightforward storyline (there are no surprises - the ending was a little expected as with all spy/espionage themes, but it is enjoyable nonetheless).

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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