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Red 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)

    Ian Jane

  • Red 2 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)

    Released by: Summit Entertainment
    Released on: November 26th, 2013.
    Director: Dean Parisot
    Cast: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Mary-Louise Parker
    Year: 2013
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Directed by Dean Parisot, 2013's Red 2 is, as you could probably gather, a sequel to the 2010 film directed by Robert Schwentke and based on the graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner that came out through Wildstorm a few years back.

    The premise here is similar to that which ran through the first movie. Once again we catch up with retired Black Ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), the former CIA super-agent and his pal, Marvin (John Malkovich), who is a bit of a nut job. They reunite with former MI6 agent Victoria (Helen Mirren), and Frank's former flame, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). What are they up to this time?

    Well, there exists a nuclear device powerful enough to cause the world some serious problems and this device, which cannot seemingly be traced, has gone missing. Frank figures it's in everyone's best interest if they track down the device and ensure that nobody does anything horrible with it, but this brings him to the attention of his former employers, specifically a CIA agent named Jack Horton (Neal McDonough). At the same time, there's someone who would like very much to have Frank and his crew taken out of the picture all together, and they've employed a deadly hitman named Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee) to do just that.

    Red 2 isn't as consistent at the first movie, it doesn't feel as well balanced and as such, it's not as good. It is, however, a worthy sequel and quite an entertaining picture in its own right. The biggest inconsistency is the tonal shifts brought about whenever Jack Horton is brought into the storyline. Where the film is light and humorous despite its violence, these scenes get very dark very quickly and while it never gets offensive or really horrendous, it is definitely a bit jarring. He's a brutal character, one who has no qualms about hurting people to get what he wants and in his introductory scene we actually see him kill just for the sake of killing, his victim a woman who had been nothing but pleasant to him. It's almost like he comes from a different world than the one in which Frank and his allies operate. Not that the villain in a movie like this shouldn't be threatening or evil, but the way in which he's portrayed feels at odds with the rest of the movie.

    The rest of the story works well, however. The plot involving Han Cho Bai's quest to assassinate Frank is well told and the back and forth that occurs between Frank and Sarah as they work out their differences (sometimes in a very public manner) are humorous and build character. The cast all do fine work here while minor roles from Catherine Zeta-Jones as the sexy Katja and Anthony Hopkins as Bailey, the man responsible for creating the nuclear device in the first place are amusing in their own right. Malkovich once again steals every scene he's in but most of the stars aren't really breaking any new ground here, just delivering their lines and playing their characters more or less the same way that they did the first time around.

    In the end, this is light entertainment. It's violent for no real reason and loud and silly and almost irresponsible in how it portrays government agents dispatching living, breathing human beings but it's not meant to be taken seriously (which is, again, why the scenes with Horton seem out of place). It's fast paced, it's got lots of snappy dialogue and it's a fun way to kill two hours with a movie, nothing more and nothing less than good, mindless entertainment.


    Red 2 arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.40.1 widescreen and it looks excellent. Colors really light up here and as the movie makes use of a very natural looking color sdcehem, the transfer really pops. At the same time, the colors don't bleed, they stay really well defined and distinct. Black levels are nice and deep, while shadow detail stays strong throughout. There were no obvious compression artifacts to note and nothing to complain about at all in terms of print damage. Skin tones look lifelike and natural while detail impresses throughout the film. There are some quirks to the image but this are obviously intentional and within the context of the story being told, they work quite well. A few shots look a little softer than others, likely the way that the movie was shot, but overall the movie looks great in HD.

    The main audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track, though Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound tracks are offered up Spanish and English. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH and French as well.

    The 7.1 mix is just as aggressive and impressive as you could hope. The action scenes have plenty of amazing directional effects and the track is consistently using all of the channels in the mix, either for bombastic chaos or subtle background noise, to really create an enveloping soundscape. The score sounds excellent as do the effects but thankfully they're mixed in such a way that even when it all hits the fan, you can still clearly hear the dialogue without any issues. This is a reference quality track, one that'll give your surround sound system a welcome workout.

    The main extra on the disc is a thirty-four minute featurette entitled The Red 2 Experience which is basically a collection of onset footage and interviews that elaborate on how a few of the key scenes were shot. We also learn about the casting, the weapons and the locations featured in the movie. It's not particularly deep but it's amusing enough, if a little on the promotional side.

    Aside from that we get a four and a half minute long Gag Reel and four and a half minutes worth of deleted scenes. Menus and chapter stops are also included as is a DVD version of the movie and a download code for a Digital Copy.

    The Final Word:

    Red 2 isn't quite as good as the first film, it's a bit too uneven for its own good and it isn't quite as creative or as clever as what came before, but it is still a whole lot of fun. The game cast is a blast to watch, the action scenes are impressive and the plot is a great mix of action, suspense and comedy. The Blu-ray release from Summit Entertainment is a bit light on extras but the audio and video presentation is top notch. A solid release overall.

    • Mark Tolch
      Mark Tolch
      Senior Member
      Mark Tolch commented
      Editing a comment
      Malkovitch was awesome in this. Definitely not as good as the first one as you said, but still you also said.
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