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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Red 2

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Mary-Louise Parker, Bruce Willis and John Malkovich star in a scene from the movie "RED 2."
Those "retired and extremely dangerous" (RED) secret agents are back on the case in "RED 2" (Summit), a lively sequel to the 2010 film based on the graphic novels by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.

In a summer multiplex filled with superheroes and cartoon characters, "RED 2" is a refreshing change of pace for the more mature moviegoer, as a gaggle of (very human) senior citizens shows off before their younger and fitter colleagues, battling to save the world from nuclear annihilation.

Having cheated death in the first film, ex-CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is adjusting to a quiet life with his kooky girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Whether these two were ever destined for an Ozzie-and-Harriet existence is up for grabs.

Before long, Frank is contacted by his former partner, Marvin (John Malkovich). There's trouble afoot, and it involves a nuclear bomb.

Ah, not just any bomb. Codenamed "Nightshade," it is the ultimate weapon, designed by mad scientist Bailey (Anthony Hopkins). It's made of "red mercury," which renders the portable device undetectable. Word is, it's buried under the Kremlin, and set to detonate.

The Americans want it found, as do the Russians and the British. The chase is on, with Sarah along for the ride, anxious to share the experience with her beau.

"Let's face it, Colombo," she tells Frank. "Things were getting a little stale."

Joining the pursuit across three continents are some of the world's best assassins: Victoria (Helen Mirren), an elegant British spy; Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a super-sexy Russian agent and Frank's former flame; and Han (Byung Hun Lee), a killer from Hong Kong who can make a deadly weapon out of origami.

While each is initially contracted to kill Frank and Marvin, who are falsely accused of a cover-up, allegiances switch as double-crosses are exposed.

Director Dean Parisot ("Galaxy Quest") keeps it all light and silly amid the mayhem with lots of witty repartee and innuendo.

"I'm the queen of England!" screeches Victoria, bewigged and crowned, as she tries to gain entry to a mental institution, playing on Mirren's many impersonations of British monarchs.

Still, "RED 2" must expend more bullets than any film in recent memory. While the violence is mostly gore-free and highly stylized, it nonetheless places this film firmly in the adult camp.

The film contains frequent but largely bloodless violence, brief drug use, and some profane and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog When we suffer, we don’t just come to understand the pain of Christ’s cross more, we come to understand the depth of God’s love for us: that he would endure such pain for us—in our place. We have a God who endured death so we would never have to do so.

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