Summer Showdown Part 3

This week’s showdown focuses on two comic based movies- one for the older generation and one for the younger.

Loving Him Was Red

20130717171933red_2_3Red 2 came out with a bang bringing in the middle age and older crowd. Red contains that generation’s beloved stars like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. Based on the DC Comic, Red follows retired spies as they try to live in world where they are no longer spies. The first movie was a huge hit adding humor and action together but didn’t at all have a comic book feel.

In the sequel, Frank is brought back into the fold against his will. He wants to do nothing but keep his girlfriend safe (Mary-Louise Parker) and get out of the spy game. When they are connected to a weapon of mass destruction, its kill or be killed. Joined by old friends and new (Catherine Zeta-Jones joins this go around), this group of retirees must prove that though old they are not senile.

Red 2 is as entertaining as the first with Malchovich stealing the show at every turn. It’s got action and its fun. It does get dragged down some by the Frank’s relationships woes. But its fun to see him interact with Zeta-Jones, and Parker’s great at the scorned and jealous lover.  Red 2 is fun and a great movie, but it isn’t Parker best performance of the weekend.

To Protect and Serve—The Living

The better movie by far is R.I.P.D. It’s fun; it’s humorous; and it sticks to its comic book roots. Parker shines as Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridge’s matter-of-fact boss.ripd-ryan-reynolds-640

R.I.P.D. is the Rest in Peace Department where the world’s best law men go in the afterlife to take down the demon scum that is running amok in the living world. Reynolds is Nick the newest edition to the department and has been paired with the Western lawman Following the trail of “deados,” the partners learn that the undead are collecting gold in order to assemble a demonic tool that will allow the dead to walk on Earth. Things become even more complicated when Nick finds out his old partner is working with the deados.

R.I.P.D. is fun and funny. Somewhere between Men in Black and Betelgeuse, this Dark Horse comic comes to life with gorgeous action and well done CG sequences. The producers kept the feeling of the comic books brining the surreal to life. Combining the other world and living can be hard to accomplish but nothing looks cheesy or overdone.

It’s the ensemble that truly brings the characters to life. Parker is superb as Proctor, nailing the “I don’t give a crap about your issues boss” whose only intent is to serve the Powers that Be and keep the world safe. Her relationship to Bridge’s lawman is both tenuous and full of sexual tension leaving you guessing where the two of them really stand. This is Reynolds’s fourth forays into comic land, and he does well as the hero. But his character isn’t exactly the crooked cop the tone implies. He’s working off his sins, but his sins don’t seem that great.

Over all fun, surrealistic and gorgeous, R.I.P.D. pulls ahead of Red 2.  Don’t blame me; I’m in that demographic.