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RED 2

This action comedy suggests there's no reason for retired spies to stop killing people

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The retired spies are back, and in pursuit of a Cold War-era WMD. The first Red had the novelty of seeing older, name-brand actors wield lethal weapons. But this sequel, directed by Dean Parisot, has all the hallmarks of a lazy sequel. The stars are back — John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker (upgraded from girlfriend to action star); so are the predictable jokes, glaringly obvious product placement and the non-stop stream of doesn't-count violence. (Your PG-13 ticket buys hundreds of violent deaths, but no blood or real consequence.) The one bright spot is the addition of Anthony Hopkins as a dotty old weapons scientist, but that's only because Hopkins is such fun to watch. There's still that rustling noise behind the exuberant gunfire and snarky quips; it's the sound of checks being cashed by actors who should aim higher.

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