'Red 2' PosterSummit Entertainment


The gang's (mostly) all back for "Red 2," the sequel to the 2010 hit about aging spies who are "Retired, Extremely Dangerous," and it's even -- dare we say -- more fun than the first one.

Bruce Willis stars again as former CIA black ops agent Frank Moses, only this time his girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker) wants a piece of the action. He's joined by his psychotic partner in mayhem, Marvin (John Malkovich), the gun-toting Victoria (Helen Mirren), and several newcomers to the franchise, including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins as Katja and Bailey (more on them below).

In this second go-round, Frank is trying to stay retired, but a leaked document linking him and Marvin to a still-hot Cold War operation lands them on everyone's hit list. As they try to save their own necks, the fate of the world falls on their shoulders as well.

Read on for 10 more things to know about the fun-filled, action-packed follow-up before you see it in theaters.

1. It Helps If You've Seen the First Film
It's not necessary to have seen "Red," but it's more fun if you know the characters' history. And Malkovich's lunacy isn't allowed quite as much free rein in this film, so you should absolutely go back and watch the first one, just to revel in one of the actor's most enjoyable roles.

2. It's Even More Action-Packed and Complex Than the First Film
Just when you think you know where the movie is going, there's a twist in this globe-trotting adventure that takes the characters to London, Paris, and the Kremlin. Alliances keep shifting and it's hard to say who's going to have anyone else's back when the bullets start flying.

3. It's as Smart as the First Movie
Chalk it up to the original comic by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, returning screenwriters Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, or the stellar cast, all of whom know a thing or two about acting and seem to be enjoying the hell out playing action heroes. A few lines get repeated one time too many, but the franchise thankfully avoids the groan-inducing one-liners that used to be a staple of old-school action movies.

4. You'll Leave the Theater Talking About Korean Star Byung Hun Lee
He's billed as the "Korean Brad Pitt," but we've never seen Pitt kick ass like this! Byung Hun Lee plays Han, the world's top assassin, who's been hired to kill Frank, a guy he has a vendetta against anyway. You may have already seen this actor at work in the "G.I. Joe" films, but here he gets a chance to prove himself in a movie with a lot less crappy CGI. His fight scenes are worth the price of admission alone, and this guy can kill anyone with any object, even a photograph. Like Pitt, he's also pretty easy on the eyes, as we see in a delightful shirtless scene.

5. Anthony Hopkins Is the Movie's Other Secret Weapon
As a brilliant scientist who's been locked away since the Cold War, Hopkins is a welcome addition to the cast. He's taken his share of hammy roles, but this one, like the film, is more layered than it first appears.

6. Helen Mirren Steals the Movie, Again
It's hard to name her best scene. Whether she's casually dissolving bodies in a tub while dressed in furs and jewels, shooting up an embassy, or schooling clueless young spies, it's a joy to see an actor of her caliber cut loose and just have fun with a role.

7. Catherine Zeta-Jones Can Seduce Us Anytime
As Frank's Russian ex, his "kryptonite," Zeta-Jones is one delicious femme fatale. She plays such a good spy here, it almost makes up for the embarrassment that was "Entrapment."

8. The Film Is in Good Hands
Don't recognize the name Dean Parisot? He's the guy who brought us the hilarious sci-fi comedy "Galaxy Quest," and he guides "Red 2" ably between zany comedy and serious action. He took over for "Red" director Robert Schwentke, whose new film "R.I.P.D." also opens this weekend.

9. Watching Bruce Willis Kick Ass Never Gets Old
Okay, maybe it paled a little in the latest "Die Hard" movie, but seeing him take out a room full of the CIA's best single-handedly -- and while handcuffed -- is a joy.

10. It's Not Just an Action Movie, It's Also About Relationships
That's the running joke of the movie -- that all these hardened killers are eager to give Frank advice on his relationship with Sarah, who's dying to be in the thick of things with him, just as he wants to keep her safe from harm. By the end, everyone's learned and grown and gotten in touch with their inner badass.

"Red 2" is now in theaters.

RED 2's Helen Mirren Is a Badass

CATEGORIES Movies, Reviews