Film review | RED 2 – Lethal oldies Willis, Malkovich & Mirren are back in action – but the jokes are sagging

RED 2 - MARY-LOUISE PARKER, BRUCE WILLIS and JOHN MALKOVICH

2010 action comedy RED wrung a fair number of laughs from the notion of Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren as retired black-ops agents returning to the spy game and kicking butt, but this unnecessary sequel finds the chuckles in short supply.

As for the plot, which sees the old-timers trying to track down a world-threatening weapon left over from the Cold War, it’s all too generic, right down to the ticking-bomb climax; you can easily imagine it being taken off the shelf and handed to a bunch of younger actors with barely a tweak.

Yet Willis, Malkovich and Mirren pull off their roles – super-cool ex-agent, paranoid acid casualty and regally glamorously sniper, respectively – with the panache you’d expect. And there’s engaging support from Mary-Louise Parker as Willis’s girlfriend and Catherine Zeta-Jones as his sultry, Russian-spy old flame. Better still is Anthony Hopkins as a barmy physicist who may be saner or crazier than anyone expects. But the script doesn’t do them justice.

With a cast this classy, plus Galaxy Quest director Dean Parisot at the helm, it’s such a shame that so many of the gags fall flat.

In cinemas from Friday 2nd August.

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