High quality action romp taken as Red

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Let’s hear it for the old guys! At last an action picture, based on a DC comic, that doesn’t take itself too seriously and delivers performances of glamorous outrage from a clutch of iconic actors on the top of their form.

It would be difficult to underestimate the entertainment value. “Style is the only constant,” one of them quips. Too true!

Was Red 1 as much fun as this? If so, let’s paint the town. Red 2 does what Sin City should have done if it wasn’t so hung up on the look, forgetting that a witty script beats cool graphics by a country mile.

The plot is no more ludicrous than the last James Bond, the difference being that 007 has form and protects his rep with a degree of intensity even Jason Bourne would find self conscious.

Frank (Bruce Willis), on the other hand, doesn’t give a toss about what people think.

His best bud in the assassin game (John Malkovich) defines his activities as “killing, eating, sexting, eating, killing.”

And yet all he wants now is to settle down with his flaky lady from Kansas ( Mary-Louise Parker) and forget past indiscretions.

Naturally this doesn’t happen once a CIA hit team, led by a sadistic torturer (“Give me a gun that really hurts”), attempts to take him out.

What follows is a dipsy tale of international espionage, involving a MI6 veteran (Helen Mirren), a Russian spy (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a mad scientist (Anthony Hopkins) and a home-made nuclear device.

The pace never eases, racing from one ambush to the next, double and triple crossing itself with the skill of an illusionist.

The humour is built in, rather than added as a topping, and the stunts are thrilling.

What’s not to like?