DVD Review: 'Red' sequel boosts the kill rate

After a three-year gap, Bruce Willis and his classiest on-screen posse returned in this follow up to the original “Red” (2010) — not to be mistaken for “Red” (2008), a more serious film starring Brian Cox, who also appears in both of the Willis movies (just to confuse us). Like the 2010 film, “Red 2” is firmly in the comic spy film tradition that descended from the 007 series. It's become one tired genre after 50 years, but every once in a while we get an entry that at least runs through the required blend of mayhem, romance and wisecracks pleasurably. “Red” and “Red 2” are among the better ones from the last decade, along with “Knight and Day” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”

Don't worry about the flimsy plot, which is just a clothesline on which a series of outrageous action sequences is hung. Most of the first cast returns, including Willis, Cox, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren; Morgan Freeman, Karl Urban and the late Ernest Borgnine are absent. Added to the mix are Neal McDonough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Thewlis, Anthony Hopkins and the charismatic Korean star Byung-hun Lee (also in the “G.I. Joe” series).

“Red 2” has a “Rambo”-like quantity of violent deaths, all presented without significant blood or guts. Its only possible offense is the comic-book blitheness with which the kill rate escalates.

The new Blu-ray has the kind of sharp picture and explosive audio befitting a recent shoot-'em-up. The extras are slim — four minutes each of gags and trivial deleted scenes, plus a pretty good half-hour promo about the making of the film.

Red 2 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Blu-ray/DVD combo, $39.99; DVD, $24.95)


ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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