The world is full of lackluster movies. But the world is not full of Helen Mirren in a Marlene Dietrich fedora, or Helen Mirren in full-tilt eveningwear disposing of a bothersome corpse in a marble bathroom, or Helen Mirren firing a massive rifle-type thingie while sprawled on a picnic blanket-- in her stocking feet, no less. We all know there are few great roles for "older" actresses, but perhaps worse than that, there are so few movies that will allow them to just be, without playing a role model or a wronged wife or a matriarch facing a life-threatening illness. Dean Parisot's Red 2
isn't as much fun as its predecessor. But watching Mirren being fabulous? It never gets old. Red
stole onto the scene without having the luxury of knowing it would become a surprise success. Even though it featured Bruce Willis playing, for the trillionth time, an aging action hero, the movie still had a casual, tossed-off quality. Red 2
gives the impression of being oodles more fun, while really just being more self-conscious. The gags are clever and goofy, but the connective tissue between them is stretched too thin. It's the kind of movie where you spend most of your time waiting for the next thing to happen, rather than living in the moment. Red 2
isn't torture to watch, in part because Mirren has even more to do than she did in the first installment. If you love her, you really want to see her in a glorious gown and dangling earrings, pouring acid on some poor dead jamoke while carrying on an otherwise normal cellphone conversation.