RED 2 stars Bruce Willis

RED 2 stars Bruce Willis

Movie Review: RED 2 and The Company you Keep

RED 2: a baroque, globetrotting plot that centres on a Cold War-era nuclear bomb plot.

True Believers

With our very own terrorist bomb scare so recently in the news, it’s useful to remember that extremist anti-war groups in the 1970s such as The Weather Underground brought a shocking level of homegrown violence to American soil. That murderous legacy is examined in The Company You Keep, a thoughtful drama directed by and starring Robert Redford. Jim Grant (Redford) is a decent lawyer and family man who’s been a pillar of his community for 30 years. But the unexpected arrest of terrorist fugitive Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon), wanted for the long-ago murder of a bank guard, sends a keen young reporter named Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) sniffing around Grant. And Grant, whose real name is Nick Sloan, is wanted on that same warrant. So he goes on the lam in the middle of the night, just steps ahead of a pugnacious FBI agent (Terrence Howard) determined to take him down.

What follows is a low-key thriller as much as a drama, one that examines the morality of violent protest as well as the scars borne by idealists who convinced themselves that the use of lethal force was appropriate when their country was engaged in an unjust war (and was beating and even killing its own student protestors). As Grant/Sloan furtively reconnects with several Weather alumni in search of an ex-lover of the time (Julie Christie) who may hold the key to his dilemma, he is pursued by Shepard as well as the FBI. And the film suggests that both an FBI agent ruthlessly wielding state power and an ambitious reporter with no regard for the collateral damage his front-page stories inflict on the innocent, are carrying their own payload of moral taint.

A decent albeit occasionally talky film, Company should get an award for its amazing cast, which includes Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci, and Brendan Gleeson. Although it lacks the savvy political edge of All The President’s Men, this is part of cinema’s vanishing breed: a film for adults.

Rating: ★★★

The Company You Keep plays July 26-27 at UVic’s Cinecenta.

 

 

Bang Bang, You’re Dead

 

RED is a fictitious (one hopes) CIA acronym for “retired, extremely dangerous” and was first used as the title of a droll and violent black comedy three years ago, wherein two retired CIA buddies were the subjects of a mysterious CIA assassination plot. Happily, Frank (Bruce Willis) and Marvin (John Malkovich) were able to show the youngsters a thing or three about lethal “wetwork,” and went on to not only save themselves but also save the day as they short-circuited a dire conspiracy.

The movie was a hit and Frank and Marvin are back in RED 2, and reunited with MI6 counterpart Victoria (Helen Mirren, who claims she based her purse-lipped and murderous character on Martha Stewart) and Frank’s girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), who is eager to join in on all the action even though Frank just wants to play house with his civilian cutie. Adding to the fun, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and David Thewlis are scenery-chewing ride-alongs.

Once again, these crusty, squabbling characters find themselves evading a large contingent of agents trying to blow them up or mow them down. It’s all part of a baroque, globetrotting plot that centres on a Cold War-era nuclear bomb that has been hiding somewhere in Moscow for 30 years and is now coveted by various factions. The storyline is both generic and messy, and much of the violence seems unnecessary. In truth this would just be a cable flick were it not for all the great performers, whose alchemical wit and panache elevate brutal banality into passable entertainment.

Rating: ★★½

RED 2 continues at the Empire 6, SilverCity, Empire Uni 4, and Westshore.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read