Helen Mirren is one mean gun-toting mamma.
Not since the late Shelly Winter, who was 50 years-of-age when she played the tough as nails gangster Ma Barker in the 1970 flick Bloody Mama, have we seen a sexy senior citizen shoot em’ up with such sinister glee.
Mirren, 67, reprises her role of assassin-for-hire Victoria Winter in the action crime comedy Red 2 co staring and returning, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker.
Added to the fray of this Dean Parisot 116-minute directed roller coaster ride, is Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun and my main man Anthony Hopkins.
Inspired by the DC Comics of the same name, this time around we find retired C.I.A. agent Frank Moses (Willis) tricked into coming out of a normal guys boring life to reunite with quirky operative Marvin Boggs (Malkovich).
They are out to find and disarm a potable nuclear device.
Along for the ultimate joy ride of car chases and over-the-top gun battles, is Sarah Ross (Parker), Moses’ girlfriend.
She is enticed by the thrills and spills of espionage with her own, although unusual, methods of solving the crime. She steals the spotlight in several scenes with her goofy charm.
Zeta-Jones seemed totally miscast as a Russian secret agent Katya but enjoyed Neal McDonough as interrogator Jack Horton with his steely blue eyes, razor-sharp cheekbones and ominous smirk. Hopkins, as always, is brilliant. In the role of Dr. Edward Bailey, the inventor of the bomb, he is broken out of a 30-year plus imprisonment where he had been held to keep the secret of the bomb, nicknamed Nightshade, and its location hush-hush.
Hopkins without a doubt brings the production up a notch.
Found that Red 2 is much wittier and has better one-liners than Red (2010) but with the loss of Morgan Freeman (retired C.I.A. agent Joe Matheson) who was killed off in Red, his replacement Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun) just didn’t have the acting chops although his martial arts were on par with that of Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan.
But is Mirren who has the best scene of the movie with a slow motion car chase shoot out with her packing a machine gun in each hand.
Too bad Ernest Borgnine was not around to reprise his role as Henry the records keeper. Borgnine, one of Hollywood’s nice guys, passed away at 95 years young a few months prior to production.
Willis, despite his lead role, plays second fiddle to most the cast and was not at the top of his game.
What really hurt Red 2 was that it seems that there were just too many sudden jumps in the film with what appeared to be edit cuts in the storyline.
Left the viewer going “Huh?”
On the scale of one to five on the Kaboom scale we give this two-and-a-half.
See you on the silver screen.