RED 2 (12a)
RED stands for Retired and Extremely Dangerous. And although the team are working very hard on the retired bit, they don't seem to have quite got the hang of it yet.
And as for the extremely dangerous part, they are not terribly convincing at that either, but what they are good at is providing a whole lot of fun.
And what is there not to enjoy about watching Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins ham it up in a fast paced action comedy?
In last year's surprise box office hit, ex-CIA agent Frank Moses (Willis) found himself unexpectedly unretired and on the trail of the bad guys who blew his house to smithereens and threatened to kill him.
Enlisting the help of his ex-associates, all now a little long in the tooth but no less deadly, as secret operatives, along with new love interest Mary-Louise Parker, the gang took on the world and won, and presumed they had achieved one last hoorah before settling for a peaceful retirement.
Red 2 puts an end to any such delusion. The second instalment sees Frank reuniting the team to track down a missing nuclear device.
Facing a constant onslaught of ruthless terrorists, government officials and assassins, all of whom are trying to nab the device for their own dubious purposes, the team need all their experience, skills and cunning to outwit and outsmart the rest, in order to save the day, and, of course, the world.
This is the kind of material you either accept at face value as a bit of fun, or end up becoming extremely frustrated with its flimsiness.
The plot is surprisingly simple and won't tax your brain and the actors have an absolute ball running around, killing, shooting and blowing people up (sometimes with alarming ease) and the fun comes from watching them have fun — it's like they all took a vacation from 'real movies' and did this for a break.
In terms of comparison to the first one, this is far funnier, with the emphasis on comedy rather than visual flair.
New director Dean Parisot was previously responsible for Galaxy Quest and Fun With Dick and Jane.
What is gained in humour and laugh out loud gags, is lost in terms of the believability factor and the action all seems a little bland compared to the originality of the first one.
But new additions to the cast help keep it fresh and Anthony Hopkins is fun as the mad, bomb making physicist Dr Edward Bailey, and produces his trademark, shuffling, thoughtful, performance.
Also new — and an odd addition when you think most of the rest of the cast are old enough to be her parents — is Catherine Zeta Jones, one of Frank's ex's, who is now a soviet agent and may, or may not, be a baddie.
An absolute joy, as always, is Dame Helen, cool as a cucumber and delightfully deadly as the MI6 veteran.
And Malkovich provides some of the funniest moments, his unpredictable paranoia always ready to step up and raise a laugh.
I enjoyed Red first time round because I didn't expect anything from it.
This time I expected a little more, but it doesn't deliver the extra. What is does produce is a fun, action packed romp, frothy and light and worth the ticket money to watch the prestigious cast having so much fun.