Red 2             
 
 
            Remember the old James Bond movies, the ones that featured tongue-in-cheek bravado?  The more recent Bond movies have ditched the campy humor and gone for the hard-edged heroes and the adrenalin rush chase scenes.  But stepping into the void of adventure with a sense of humor is “Reds 2.”
            Bruce Willis plays Frank, an ex-CIA operative who’s trying to retire.  We find him in Costco with his lovely bride, Sarah (Mary-Louse Parker), trying to decide about window washing solvents.  A sudden visit from his old buddy Marvin (John Malkovich, who’s great at ironic mugging) about how badly they’re still needed in the espionage field doesn’t convince our determined slacker Frank, but the explosion that destroys Marvin’s truck in the parking lot does.  There’s somebody after them, and it’s time to strap on the secret agent persona.
            Except that there’s nothing very slick or scary about this trio.  Sarah keeps wanting to tag along, Frank is afraid she’ll get hurt, and Marvin’s caught in the middle, rolling his eyes at the vagaries of working relationships, from the vantage point of the interested spectator.  This also allows some casual repartee while the bad guys swing into action.
            Yes, there’s a plot, sort of.  It seems a nuclear bomb was smuggled into the Kremlin during the dark days of the Cold War.  Everybody wants to find the hidden bomb, some to dismantle it and others to use it for the ultimate terrorist attack.  But the only person who really knows where it is or how to activate it is a mad scientist in a looney bin, Dr. Bailey (Anthony Hopkins, who plays calculating genius very convincingly within a broad farce barely believable). 
            Periodically, we’ll pause the action to paint back to comic book mode before turning the page to the next scene, as if to remind everyone that we have an excuse for playing caricatures.  And not taking ourselves too seriously, at the same time we’re trying to save the world.  Somehow, this particular stellar cast of characters pulls it off.  They somehow manage to carry the flimsy plot and make us root for them and make us chuckle at their foibles, however contrived.
            Yeah, this one is just for fun.  Overanalysis will just squeeze out the charm.  Just enjoy it, try not to think too much, and pass the popcorn.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas