Red 2's unwieldy narrative lurches from location to location on what feels like entirely arbitrary reasoning. The all-star cast - which now includes new British points of interest David Thewlis and Catherine Zeta-Jones - are crammed into what little space is left in Parisot's script after all the ridiculous plot machinations have taken up most of the film's unnecessarily lengthy runtime.
Hopkins admittedly provides a few bright moments, but Willis - so watchable in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom and Rian Johnson's Looper last year - is not alone in turning in a glass-eyed, slack performance here. The energy that drove Malkovich in the first Red is similarly missing, whilst Mirren plays it by the numbers. That's the film in a nutshell: by the numbers, its structure is replicated beat for beat from the original offering, without half the sense of fun. Parisot previously directed 1999's knowing sci-fi parody Galaxy Quest, which revelled in the tropes and clichés of its genre, exploiting them for maximum comic effect and creating an emotional response to the characters. Sadly, Red 2 merely regurgitates the window-dressing of the action caper with none of the humour or pathos that created the demand for the sequel in the first place.