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Red 2 (PG) * * * * Nuclear Melt Down!

Over the top is just what the doctor ordered this summer with the release of Red 2. Consider this wacky spy lark to be a follow- up to Red that came out a few years back from out of nowhere. Made with considerable flour­ish from the imaginative pens of DC Comics this EOne Release is amusing suspicions at the Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Cineplex Odeon Theatres around B.C. Watch out, Mr. Bond. It looks like agent 007 has new competi­tion in the espionage playing field. Over the hill operatives Frank and Marvin under most circumstanc­es would have seen their day. Major action star Bruce Willis (Die Hard) and likeable fan favou­rite John Malkovich (In The Line of Fire) have never looked better as two sad sack agents pressed back into action – mostly against their collective wills. Complicat­ing matters further is Frank’s wife Sarah who just can’t seem to get enough of the glamorous life style he once enjoyed. Lady in waiting Mary-Louise Parker is per­fect as the would be spy who gets  catapulted into a new adventure along with her rather reluctant sidekicks.

Apparently (?) some dooms­day device has gone amiss and when they’re not too busy dodg­ing the bullets of assassins by the thousands this group manages to go out on various limbs to track down a master criminal. Humour is everywhere in this ridiculous joy ride that works so well thanks to the dead-pan acting of Willis and Malkovich. As reluctant buddies this pair can’t be beat.

Action aplenty descends on the trio as they engage in a cross world spy hunt that sees lucky au­diences taken along for the ride. Tourist hotspots like Paris, Lon­don and Moscow are beautifully depicted as the doomsday clock ticks away. Never a dull moment ensues as director Dean Parison doesn’t miss a beat in this first class action adventure comical yarn.

Oh, and let’s not forget strong support from the rest of the cast including Catherine Zeta Jones (The Mask of Zorro), Sir Antho­ny Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) and Dame Helen Mirren (The Queen). These greats go for the gags and fun and don’t dis­appoint during this 116 minute odyssey.

Spy fans who can’t wait for Daniel Craig’s next patented ap­pearance in 2015 will surely mar­vel at the fun secret agent antics on tap in Red 2, a freewheeling lot of fun with an undercurrent menace guaranteed to leave you shaken and stirred .