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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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John Vianney: A man with vision overcomes obstacles and performs deeds that seem impossible. John Vianney was a man with vision: He wanted to become a priest. But he had to overcome his meager formal schooling, which inadequately prepared him for seminary studies. 
<p>His failure to comprehend Latin lectures forced him to discontinue. But his vision of being a priest urged him to seek private tutoring. After a lengthy battle with the books, John was ordained. </p><p>Situations calling for “impossible” deeds followed him everywhere. As pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. (Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.) </p><p>With Catherine Lassagne and Benedicta Lardet, he established La Providence, a home for girls. Only a man of vision could have such trust that God would provide for the spiritual and material needs of all those who came to make La Providence their home. </p><p>His work as a confessor is John Vianney’s most remarkable accomplishment. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. Unless a man was dedicated to his vision of a priestly vocation, he could not have endured this giving of self day after day. </p><p>Many people look forward to retirement and taking it easy, doing the things they always wanted to do but never had the time. But John Vianney had no thoughts of retirement. As his fame spread, more hours were consumed in serving God’s people. Even the few hours he would allow himself for sleep were disturbed frequently by the devil. </p><p>Who, but a man with vision, could keep going with ever-increasing strength? In 1929, Pope Pius XI named him the patron of parish priests worldwide.</p> American Catholic Blog The most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold on to. –Pope Francis

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