Helen Mirren and guns: Do not mix.

Helen Mirren and guns: Do not mix.

The moderately successful -if entirely forgettable- Red was based on the dubious premise that geezers with guns are funny. Red 2 not only doesn’t bring anything new to the table, it fails even to come up with a serviceable story to justify arming Helen Mirren to the teeth.

The convoluted, product placement-happy sequel finds retired black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) digging suburban life. His squeeze (a wasted Mary Louise Parker), however, is less than pleased to discover the bad boy of yore is actually a closeted soccer dad. Thankfully, former associate Marvin (John Malkovich) informs them they are about to get whacked.

Up to this point, ten minutes into the film, Red 2 makes sense. From then on, and for reasons the screenwriter didn’t care enough to explain, the trio goes on a world tour in hot pursuit of a key, a bomb and a crazy scientist (Anthony Hopkins), while steering clear from the CIA and two contract killers (Helen Mirren and Byung-hun Lee).

This movie is so lazy, it defies the laws of time and space just because the production team didn’t care enough to make scenes match. The overqualified cast fails to rise above the shtick, and clearly is in this for the paycheck. Hopkins injects a bit of energy to the proceeding, but soon even the Oscar winner succumbs to the rampant incompetence. Not only the action sequences are perfunctory, the long-term relationship storyline is filled with the oldest clichés and are jammed into the plot with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Director Dean Parisot (from Fun with Dick and Jane fame) is so terrible, it’s unconceivable he once helmed the clever Galaxy Quest. This is probably the final nail in the coffin of the Red franchise, and yet another disappointment for DC Comics.

One prairie dog rolling its eyes.