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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Red 2

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Mary-Louise Parker, Bruce Willis and John Malkovich star in a scene from the movie "RED 2."
Those "retired and extremely dangerous" (RED) secret agents are back on the case in "RED 2" (Summit), a lively sequel to the 2010 film based on the graphic novels by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner.

In a summer multiplex filled with superheroes and cartoon characters, "RED 2" is a refreshing change of pace for the more mature moviegoer, as a gaggle of (very human) senior citizens shows off before their younger and fitter colleagues, battling to save the world from nuclear annihilation.

Having cheated death in the first film, ex-CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is adjusting to a quiet life with his kooky girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Whether these two were ever destined for an Ozzie-and-Harriet existence is up for grabs.

Before long, Frank is contacted by his former partner, Marvin (John Malkovich). There's trouble afoot, and it involves a nuclear bomb.

Ah, not just any bomb. Codenamed "Nightshade," it is the ultimate weapon, designed by mad scientist Bailey (Anthony Hopkins). It's made of "red mercury," which renders the portable device undetectable. Word is, it's buried under the Kremlin, and set to detonate.

The Americans want it found, as do the Russians and the British. The chase is on, with Sarah along for the ride, anxious to share the experience with her beau.

"Let's face it, Colombo," she tells Frank. "Things were getting a little stale."

Joining the pursuit across three continents are some of the world's best assassins: Victoria (Helen Mirren), an elegant British spy; Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a super-sexy Russian agent and Frank's former flame; and Han (Byung Hun Lee), a killer from Hong Kong who can make a deadly weapon out of origami.

While each is initially contracted to kill Frank and Marvin, who are falsely accused of a cover-up, allegiances switch as double-crosses are exposed.

Director Dean Parisot ("Galaxy Quest") keeps it all light and silly amid the mayhem with lots of witty repartee and innuendo.

"I'm the queen of England!" screeches Victoria, bewigged and crowned, as she tries to gain entry to a mental institution, playing on Mirren's many impersonations of British monarchs.

Still, "RED 2" must expend more bullets than any film in recent memory. While the violence is mostly gore-free and highly stylized, it nonetheless places this film firmly in the adult camp.

The film contains frequent but largely bloodless violence, brief drug use, and some profane and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Joseph McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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