By Casey Tourangeau

Mailed on July 20, 2013

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Dear Carrie Johnson
Unit Nurse

Dear Carrie,

The day leading up to seeing RED 2 was a little rough for me. As the day went on, I realized I was coming down with something. It started with a scratchy throat; then some general achiness. By the time I was heading out to the show, my eyes felt so tired, the notion of watching a movie started to feel like too much effort.

So, first things first: do you know what I might have come down with? Are there any treatments? Should I see someone?

Anyway, where were we? Right, RED 2. I can see why this film needed a unit nurse on it. An action movie with this many stunts and pyrotechnics certainly has ample opportunity for on-set injuries - I mean that in the best sense possible. One of the best things about RED 2 _is its old fashioned approach to on-screen action. The 'old' may only go as far back as the 1980s, but that's okay, since that's most of _RED 2's stars had their heydays. And while the movie deals with the inability to ever escape your past, it also (very marginally) deals with growing older. And with a cast that in large part resembles a retirement home, it couldn't have hurt to have a full-time nurse on standby.

Bruce Willis and John Malkovich reprise their roles as ex-black ops agents (RED being an acronym for "Retired, Extremely dangerous"), forced back into action when they are framed as the instigators in a plot to detonate an ultra-powerful atomic device for, and end up targeted for the kind of retirement that doesn't involve rounds of golf or trips to COSTCO. Helen Mirren, Mary Louise Parker, and Catherine Zeta Jones are along for the ride as, in order, An ex-MI6 operative, Willis's current flame, and Willis's former flame (and KGB femme fatal, naturally). As a group, these actors area lot of fun - not as much fun as the movie thinks they are, but fun nonetheless.

Which is a relief. After this year's dismal A Good Day to Die Hard, it's nice to see Willis in a somewhat competent action film. Instead of relying on gimmicky - and trendy - shaky cam cinematography, director Dean Parisot actually seems interested in crafting scenes that make sense spatially and physically. To a point at least. As _RED 2 _ goes along, it becomes more interested in making its cast look cool. Which is a problem.

I was game to hop along for the bumpy ride, even if I didn't think everything was clicking. I didn't even mind the liberal borrowing from other, better films (among the films that it lifted from, I noted Charade, The Bourne Identity, The Matrix, and_ Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol), but things started to creak like joints that haven't been used in a long time. To remedy this, instead of following the advice you might give, to ease into things, use slow, steady progress until you're ready to run again, _RED 2 starts to flail like an over-the-hill jock trying to reclaim his glory with no warm up. By the time Willis and pals are shooting up an embassy in a scene that not only adds nothing to the story, but also has our main characters mowing down what seem to be (from what I could tell) innocent guards doing their job, I was ready to check myself out. That there was 20 minutes left only made things worse. I felt like a patient in the ER with a recurring injury; I know what's wrong, I know what the diagnosis will be, but I still have to wait for the on-call doctor to see me so that I can leave.

But to my original point, should I get this flu checked out?

Wishing you had triaged the script,


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