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Danny Glover and Mel Gibson make a gently contrasted (and nicely self-reflexive) odd couple in this action-comedy sequel, as they contemplate growing older and becoming less capable of convincingly filling the shoes of their stunt doubles. When the final credits roll over production stills of the chummy cast and crew, the warm fuzziness doesn't seem totally disingenuous. But the movie has some annoyingly typical qualities. The international-crime scenario allows lots of American characters of diverse ancestral origins to pat each other on the back as they unite against a common foreign enemy. And a climactic struggle includes one of the heroes repeatedly running a villain through. One of these days I'd like to see a buddy action flick in which the characters, obliged by convention to make jokes about homosexuality, are gay--maybe then a symbolic catharsis wouldn't have to be acted out in the violence. Written by Channing Gibson and directed by Richard Donner (1998).

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