How Could Frank know if he was happy? He hadn't 'Killed Anybody in Months.'
While RED 2 may be your common, garden variety sequel, it is mostly just the blackest of comedies built upon the intractable foundation of a perfect farce, where interpersonal relationships really do matter. At least that is what Marvin Boggs, John Malkovich's character, felt - such a sensitive killer. Frank Moses, Bruce Willis's character, cares deeply about his relationship; he just is not as sensitive as Marvin. Then again, Frank was better at killing people, and Marvin was pretty darn good himself.
At the center of all this relationship business is Frank's sweetheart, Sarah Ross, played by Mary-Louise Parker, who is really more concerned about helping with the killing part, which in its own way, purposefully aids in extending the relationship. So far, we have established that the central theme in RED 2 is the relationship, more explicitly that between Frank and Sarah, and secondary to that central theme, but very necessary to support that ongoing relationship.
That's the film, and not much of one unless it happens to be entertaining, which it was to me, and may well be for you. Personally, I enjoy dark comedies, the blacker the better, with huge doses of satirical farce thrown in for good measure. RED 2 met that criteria, and I was never bored; actually quite entertained.
And not to put too fine of a point on this whole relationship business, but it was ostensively the crux of Marvin's argument for Frank to join his unified efforts to remain amongst the living when they had their rather impromptu rendezvous at the COSTCO, as illustrated by their conversation here below:
Frank: "Look, I'm retired, okay? I'm happy. We're happy."
Marvin: "Frank... Frank, you haven't killed anybody in months!"
Frank: "That is not a bad thing. Okay? That's a positive thing for a lot of people."
While this business of intrigue and espionage, and murder may have been Frank Moses's original calling, one can well understand that his immediate calling at this prescient point is just to stay alive, and that took some measure of preparation. So in this farcical film of relationships and flying bullets, Frank took care to hone his craft for all possibilities as evidenced in the comments just below:
Frank: "Marvin, is that a stick of dynamite in your pocket?"
Marvin: "Yeah, but I'm saving it for an emergency."
Frank: "Well, this is kind of an emergency, isn't it?"
With bullets flying in abundance, Frank's, Bruce Willis, and Marvin's, John Malkovich, mission to survive and, and get to the root of their assailant's motivations.
What began as serving the motivation to stay alive, soon became an effort to save a huge chunk of the English world. It was at this point we meet the rest of those trying to kill Frank and Marvin and Sarah, or help them survive.
Marvin (left), John Malkovich, deadpans the obvious, while refereeing, through commentary, Sarah's (right), Mary-Louise Parker, relationship with Frank Moses: Above. Russian Agent Katja, Catherine Zeta-Jones, somehow, finds herself in service to her old pal Frank Moses: Below. Click above image to expand and return to the gallery.
Marvin: "She has talents you and I will never have. Frank: What talents?"
Marvin: "People like her (Sarah)."
Han Cho Bai: "If she lives, this'll be good for your relationship. You're right."
Marvin: "And if there's one thing I know, it's women and covert ops."
Frank: "That's two things."
Han Cho Bai: "No, grasshopper. It is not."
What makes RED 2 work so well, in this dark comedy of a film, is the casting of some fine ensemble actors, and an irreverence toward societal norms ... no matter how Marvin, the John Malkovich character, struggles to mainstream their existence as normal. The comedy for the rest of us is recognizing the obvious - nothing, and nobody, in RED 2 is normal.
RED 2 became even less normal when the trio, bent on inner discovery of such emotional depth, while killing others, and remaining alive, found Dr. Edward Bailey, played by incomparable Anthony Hopkins, as the prototypical mad scientist. The largest problem for everyone else, in relationship to this mad scientist, was that Edward Bailey was a nuclear physicist.