The details of the mission are a little sloppy, but the appeal of watching Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren rock some serious firepower is still there, making “RED 2” another satisfying Retired and Extremely Dangerous thrill.
Frank (Willis) is back to trying to live the quiet life again until Marvin (Malkovich) interrupts his Costco shopping session to warn him that Nightshade has come back to haunt them. Nightshade is a Cold War era nuclear weapon that went missing on their watch, but now it’s back, and both the US Government and MI6 think that Frank and Marvin know where it is. With Victoria (Mirren) trying to track them down on behalf of MI6 and a deadly assassin named Han (Byung-hun Lee) aiming to take them out for the US, Frank, Marvin, and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) have no choice, but to travel the globe and figure out where Nightshade is for themselves so they can put an end to all of this.
There are two primary components to the “RED 2” story and while neither works particularly well, there’s enough outrageous action to fill up the plot holes and make it an entertaining watch.
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Watching Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren team up to blow enemies away with machine guns and explosives has an undeniable charm and it goes to show.RED opened in October of 2010 to the tune $21.8 million and then went on to stay in theaters for four full months and accumulate nearly $200 million worldwide. These Retired and Extremely Dangerous agents certainly earned their sequel.
In RED 2, opening July 19, we find former CIA black ops agent Frank Moses (Willis), again, happily retired, but this time he’s living the Costco shopper life with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) by his side, much to her chagrin. But soon enough, she gets her wish and gets to add a little danger to their romance again when Frank and Marvin (Malkovich) are tasked with finding and destroying a missing Cold War weapon that returned to pose a serious threat. As if tracking down a super weapon isn’t tough enough, Frank, Marvin and Sarah have to do so with two assassins on their tail – the US hire, Han (Byung Hun Lee), a contract killer with a vendetta against Frank, and someone dispatched by MI6, none other than their old pal, Victoria (Helen Mirren).
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Lorenzo di Bonaventura knows how to make a summer blockbuster.Transformers scored $70.5 million opening weekend in 2007, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen topped that with nearly $109 million in 2009, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra posted a $54.7 million start just after that, and thenTransformers: Dark of the Moon pulled in $97.9 million its first weekend out in the summer of 2011. Now the question is, can he take a long-range success and turn it into one of those summer tentpoles?
RED opened in October of 2010 with a moderate $21.8 million. Considering the film had a $58 million production tab, $21.8 million is sufficient, but also doesn’t necessarily scream franchise-worthy. However, then RED went on to spend a whopping four months in theaters, never losing more than 50.1% of its profits in a single weekend, which let it end its theatrical run with a domestic grand total of $90.4 million and a worldwide total of $199 million. Now a number like that deserves a sequel – which is why summer 2013 brings us RED 2.
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The key to restarting a zombie’s heart is a pretty girl. The key to making a big screen supernatural/human relationship work is lightening up.
We’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and R (Nicholas Hoult) is amongst the living dead. He calls a defunct airport home and spends his days lumbering around, occasionally bumping into or grunting at his zombie cohorts until they’re hungry enough to venture into the big city for some eats. While R does find something tasty to gnaw on, he also encounters some unexpected eye candy – Julie (Teresa Palmer). Rather than make Julie the next item on his menu, R vows to keep her safe, shielding her from his flesh-eating buddies and escorting her to the airport.
A vampire/human romance is one thing, but a zombie/human relationship is an especially tough sell. The “Warm Bodies” book takes itself very seriously but, thanks to effective narration, quality character development and the power of a reader’s imagination, it’s easy to get on board. With the audience’s imagination no longer in play with the big screen version, presenting “Warm Bodies” in a dark, dramatic fashion would have made it nearly impossible to convey the story in a believable manner. However, Jonathan Levine manages to adapt the source material in the best possible way, keeping key plot points and character details intact, but infusing the tale with an unexpected yet wildly appropriate degree of humor.
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In a post-apocalyptic world ridden with zombies, the goal is always not to become one yourself. But c’mon, who hasn’t wondered what they’d look like lumbering around decked out in grimy zombie garb? Well, my day in the living dead spotlight finally arrived! I got the opportunity to hit the set of Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies, have the life sucked out of me and join R (Nicholas Hoult) on set for a run-in with the Bonies.
Things kicked off bright and early with a group of nice, clean reporters congregating in a hotel lobby, waiting for the production van to arrive and take us to set at the Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, a location you might remember from The Terminal. However, Hugo Boss and Viktor Navorski’s home sweet home, Gate 67, are long gone and the location has been transformed into the Isaac Marion International Airport, named after the author of the book Warm Bodies.
“We try to make people look like these are the clothes they wore when they died …”
But before we trekked through the airport ruins, it was straight into wardrobe. For those of you who’ve met me in the flesh, you know I’m more of a jeans, T-shirt and Vans type of girl. Apparently nobody informed the Warm Bodies wardrobe department because there was a low-cut shirt, skirt and high-heel boots waiting for me to slip into. As costume designer George L. Little explained, “We try to make people look like these are the clothes they wore when they died, not just a costume, so try to dress to the face before the makeup.” I don’t know what it is about my face that says business lady, club-goer crossover, but hey, I’m about to become a zombie — might as well go all in!
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I love chocolate cake. When I eat too much chocolate cake, I feel sick and don’t love it much anymore. I like visually stimulating imagery in movies. When I see too much visually stimulating imagery, in 3D nonetheless, I feel sick and don’t love it much anymore. Hopefully Michael Bay doesn’t love chocolate cake as much as he loves tracking shots and dizzying robot battles or he’d have a morbidly obese problem on his hands.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon suggests that Apollo 11 really flew to the moon to investigate a mysterious spacecraft crash. Turns out, that spacecraft is from Cybertron and carries an Autobot technology with the power to save their race. However, years later, the government has neatly tucked away this little bit of info, and Optimus Prime, Bumblee and the other Autobots are committed to living on earth, assisting the US military.
Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is a recent college graduate trying to secure his first post-school job, but unfortunately, his Ivy League diploma and medal from the president don’t bear as much weight as he hopes. On the bright side, Sam had no trouble replacing Mikaela (Megan Fox) with yet another woman way out of his league, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). She’s got a high-paying position working for Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), a car-collecting hotshot, who’s generous enough to give Carly a paycheck that supports both her and Sam. Believing this is no life for a former hero, Sam is desperate for the day he can jump back into the action with the Autobots and, thanks to a piece of that Cybertron spacecraft surfacing in Chernobyl, he’ll get that chance soon enough.
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Is it possible for a film starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren to be bad? Maybe, but if you put handguns, machine guns and grenade launchers in theirs hands and give them some snappy dialogue to work with, you’re basically home free.
What happens when a highly skilled CIA agent retires? He’s labeled RED, short for Retired and Extremely Dangerous and there’s really no better way to describe retiree Frank Moses (Willis). He’s doing okay in a cozy suburban town, decorating his house for the holiday like he’s supposed to, but the highlight of his day is calling a particular federal pension employee, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). He calls on a regular basis to report missing checks, but the two simply enjoy talking to each other. Unfortunately for Sarah, Frank’s house is bugged and after narrowly escaping an ambush, he knows the bad guys will head straight to her place.
Having no choice, Sarah reluctantly tags along with Frank as he visits all of his old CIA pals. First stop? Joe (Freeman) who now calls an old aged facility home. Next up is Marvin (Malkovich), a wacky, but skilled ex-agent who’s convinced the government is out to get him. Then there’s Ivan (Brian Cox), a former Russian spy who has a history with the team’s last member, Victoria (Mirren), an elegant ex-MI6 agent. Now that the gang’s all back together, it’s time to take out the bad guys; some nasty folks who don’t want them to spread a little secret.
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