Seen: At the AMC/Loew's at Boston Common.
Following the previous investigation of old-guy former CIA operatives, Red 2 sees the adventures continuing for Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), and his best friend Marvin (John Malkovich). The three find themselves at the center of a conspiracy involving a decades-old nuclear device hidden somewhere in Moscow. Multiple agencies want Frank and Marvin dead because of their connection to the device from a failed mission during the Cold War, and they must forge a few unlikely partnerships with allies [like MI6 assassin Victoria (Helen Mirren)] and enemies [like Russian secret agent Katya (Catherine Zeta-Jones)] alike to track down the bomb so it won't fall into the wrong hands.
I was a big fan of Red, and was surprised but pleased it even got a sequel, but the addition of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lee Byung-hun is what got me excited for Red 2. Lucky for me, the film as a whole is pretty good, too. It's got some great action sequences- from Bruce Willis beating the shit out of armed CIA grunts using only what he finds in an office file archive, to Lee Byung-hun beating the shit out of Russian cops while chained to a soda machine. The story is cookie-cutter stuff, to be sure, relying on easy-to-spot twists and a fascination with 80's action movie tropes. But, the script is clever enough and doesn't take itself too seriously, while the characters all get their moments to shine. I wasn't really here for a good story, I was here to see famous people over 40 kick some ass.
Admittedly the first half of the movie was sort of uninteresting to me, since I felt the subplots about Bruce Willis fretting over Mary-Louise Parker every second and also her intense jealousy over Catherine Zeta-Jones were BORING and lazy. And can Bruce not be so controlling? Super annoying. But the second half picks up, and both the action and the story become more compelling, and I found myself enjoying myself immensely by the time the credits rolled. Too bad it took a while to get there, though.
Pair This Movie With: Well, of course the first Red comes to mind and it would be fun to double feature that. But there were also some parallels to Fast Five, for a nice action pairing. Personally when I came out all I wanted to do was see more Lee Byung-hun, especially The Good, The Bad, The Weird where he's also a super-hot villain.
PS Soooo I need a Lee Byung-hun/Helen Mirren buddy action comedy STAT.