"Do the Right Thing"
What You Need To Know:
RED 2 is filled with snappy dialogue and funny twists. The character arcs reflect a moral worldview that explicitly stresses a belief in right and wrong, but this is set in a world where cruel senseless killing and violence is not only the norm, but also commended and treated as a joke. Thus, RED 2 is a sarcastic movie, with moral character arcs, but extreme caution is advised, especially for susceptible people who will see the movie as permission for killing and torture, and individuals who abhor over the top violence.
(BB, PaPa, C, Ro, Fe, AP, P, LLL, VV, S, N, A, M) Strong moral worldview where hero explicitly stresses a belief in right and wrong, doing the right thing, and saving lives first over worrying about protecting extreme material wealth in the dialogue, set in a world where cruel senseless killing and violence is not only the norm, but commended and treated as a joke, plus light Christian references when man crosses himself when someone just dies and during funeral scene in a church, mitigated by the strong action violence pitting man against man and some possible Romantic, feminist elements where hero’s girlfriend would rather join in his spy adventures than stay at home with the retired spy leading a quiet retired life, and some mixed patriotic elements; 21 obscenities (many “h” words but a few “s” words, one “d” word, three “b” words, an SOB, and a “bast**d”), two possible strong profanities that were hard to hear in the midst of the action during the first screening, and eight light profanities (such as MG and a “for God’s sake”; very strong action violence with some blood as soldiers send to kill two retired spies, and there’s an extensive fight, explosions, villain kills people with poisoned gas and needles filled with said gas, assassin fires powerful machine gun repeatedly at heroes hiding behind cars in a Paris street, gunfights, mixed martial arts and boxing fighting and kicking in several scenes, assassin cuts one victim’s throat with sharp piece of folded paper but the cutting or the wound is never shown so it’s only implied as the sitting man leans forward, some point blank shootings, threatened torture, threatened skinning love interest alive from neck to ankle, and dead man’s bloodied face implies he’s been tortured to death somehow; inappropriate random kissing of strangers and villains, and some sexual dialogue and double entendre; upper male nudity when man has to remove his clothes to make sure he has no weapon; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, villain seeks revenge but he fails so its rebuked, light jealousy occurs for comic effect, man spouts self-help romance platitudes for comic effect, man appears dressed in a Carmen Miranda outfit as a disguise in a brief epilogue scene, but nothing perverted is implied, references to paranoia.
RED 2 is a tongue in check, entertaining action movie, with lots of exciting action scenes and humor. Even better, the hero, played by Bruce Willis, keeps stressing his belief that there’s a transcendent right and wrong and people should do the right thing. Of course, this is an action movie, so doing the right thing means saving the lives of innocent people. That doesn’t include, however, the people who are trying to kill the hero and his friends and stop him from preventing a powerful bomb from getting into the wrong hands. Thus, there’s a lot of strong action violence involving gunfights and killing, and a fair amount of foul language, plus many cruel and questionable elements.
The movie opens with Frank Morris, the retired CIA agent, wanting to lead a quiet homebody life, but his girlfriend, Sara, wants a life of adventure, danger and romance. She gets her wish when a mysterious man in the American government orders an unscrupulous, corrupt agent to kill Frank, Sara and their friend, Melvin. Word has come to them that Frank and Melvin, who worked together during the Cold War, know the whereabouts of a new kind of neutron bomb planted somewhere in Moscow 30 years ago. Frank’s mission of saving the life of his girlfriend and his friend becomes a mission to find the bomb and keep it from getting into the wrong hands. Sara joins Frank and Melvin in the quest, which takes them to Paris, London and Moscow. Hot on their trail is the government agent and a couple of world-class assassins. Things get complicated for Sara and Frank when a sultry ex-girlfriend of Frank’s, who turned out to be a Soviet Communist spy, shows up in Paris seeking information on the bomb.
After the unexpected success of the first movie, RED 2 was clearly given a bigger, more elaborate budget. This hasn’t hurt the new movie. RED 2 is filled with relentless fun, including some snappy dialogue and funny twists. The movie also benefits from its great cast of veteran actors. Newly added into that mix is a fun performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins as the ditzy scientist who created the bomb.
Regrettably, there is too much strong action violence, and discussions of violence, including skinning the love interest from head to ankle alive, as well as plenty of relatively foul language and sexual dialogue, including a perverse foot fetish. The foul language isn’t insignificant, but it doesn’t come with a lot of “f” words or strong profanities as some of this year’s movies contain. Also, the girlfriend’s interest in adventure, thrills and romance over a quiet home life seems to reflect a Romantic attitude, but it’s not done in a politically correct way. Finally, there’s some mixed patriotic content, which may reflect a libertarian attitude against big government of any kind, including the American version, but the confusion also may appeal to the confused minds of more liberal viewers.
The objectionable and potentially objectionable content, however, is countered by the movie’s moral worldview. The Bruce Willis hero several times stresses the idea of doing the right thing. He also tells people that there’s a right and a wrong. This reflects the biblical, conservative idea that God has created a transcendent moral order that everyone must obey. Of course, belief in a right and a wrong is better served by a more explicit biblical worldview, but kudos to RED 2 for making the idea of right and wrong such an important part of their story. There’s also one scene in RED 2 where the hero’s friend momentarily and solemnly crosses himself when someone dies. An earlier funeral scene set in a church also connects the friend to an apparent Christian faith.
Even so, the movie is set in a very cruel amoral world, where killing is treated as a joke and torture is commended. Many of the killings are way too cruel and senseless, so one reviewer had to walk out of the movie.
All in all, RED 2 is an exciting, sarcastic movie, with moral character arcs, but it’s definitely for mature audiences, so extreme caution is advised, especially for susceptible people who will see the movie as permission for killing and torture, and individuals who abhor over the top violence.