A double feature review this week: a likely nominee for Best Foreign Film, and a Hollywood comedy that's strictly for laughs.
RED 2 is a very funny sequel to the 2010 action-comedy that stars aging Hollywood actors as action heroes.
The extended joke is that characters played by Bruce Willis, John Malcovich, Helen Mirren, and Anthony Hopkins may be retired, but they are still extremely dangerous.
THE ATTACK couldn't be more different. It's a serious and troubling drama about an Arab surgeon in Israel who's married to a woman that police believe was a suicide bomber.
Following a bomb explosion in a public place, Dr. Jaafari does what he can to help victims in the aftermath of the terrible carnage, and he wonders "what's wrong with these people. They brought 17 dead to the hospital including 11 kids."
But as soon as the doctor is out of the operating room, a police officer tells him that his wife was responsible for the bombing.
Jaafari: It couldn't have been her. We had no secrets between us.
Officer: How can you be sure? Prepare yourself for the worst. Your wife didn't just commit mass murder; she destroyed the trust Israel has in its Arab citizens.
How is it possible that the doctor didn't really know his wife, that he misjudged her so completely? Distraught and angry, he travels to the west bank where his family still lives, determined to find out how in the world his wife could have done this.
THE ATTACK is the work of a gifted filmmaker who has effectively dramatized the rage and despair of the seemingly endless war between Arabs and Jews.
* * *
If you're not in the mood for tragedy and just want have to some escapist fun at the movies this weekend, check out RED 2.
Helen Mirren (on the phone to Bruce Willis): MI6 has just given me a contract to kill you. Apparently you're guilty of nuclear terrorism, murder, and your number one on Interpol's most wanted.
Willis: What did you say?
Mirren: Well, I said "yes." You know, the money's good and if I don't do it, somebody else will." (During this entire scene, Mirren is pouring boric acid over a man's dead body in her bathtub.)
RED 2 obviously is a silly action comedy that gives aging Hollywood stars a chance to play invincible action heroes, heroines and villains.
As Willis and Malcovich are pinned down behind a van with a machine gun fire crashing through the van, Willis asks his friend, "Is that a stick of dynamite in your pocket?"
Malcovich: I'm saving it for an emergency.
Willis: This is kind of an emergency, isn't it?
Watching these supposedly retired ex-CIA operatives trading witticisms and annihilating bad guys is a guilty pleasure, I suppose, but it's also a rare case of a comedy sequel that's more fun than the original.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now firstname.lastname@example.org