RED is the action-comedy about a small group of retired CIA field operatives (Retired, Extremely Dangerous...R.E.D.) who are targeted for elimination by nefarious government groups and must team up to fight off the threat and reveal the culprit.
RED is a silly but very fun movie. It is the sort of movie that would not work, however, if we didn't already have pretty strong impressions and feelings about its stars. If we didn't already think of Helen Mirren as the classy actress who won an Oscar for THE QUEEN...we wouldn't laugh simply at the sight of her wielding a machine gun. If we didn't mostly think of Morgan Freeman for playing God or the President or the silky-toned narrator of MARCH OF THE PENGUINS...we wouldn't chuckle at his antics. Quite frankly, if you enjoyed the trailers for RED, you'll enjoy the movie. They give you an almost complete sense of the tone of this film. If you thought the trailers looked merely silly and made you roll your eyes...then the movie will simply multiply that feeling.
Personally, I thought it was a lot of fun. The actors are clearly having a ball, and Bruce Willis (who doesn't really come across as old enough to be retired...especially when he can still win fistfights left and right) makes a good host. He's coasting here, but as movie-goers, we're so comfortable with Willis and his shaved head that it feels a little like we're just visiting an old friend. Mary Louise Parker (WEEDS) is his sort-of love interest, a call center worker he's been flirting with long distance but who now joins in on the escapades. She does a nice job evolving from meek to really enjoying the dangerous antics. Mirren and Freeman are fun. Brian Cox shows up as a retired Soviet agent, and he sparkles in his over-the-top accent. Richard Dreyfuss appears in a couple of scenes and chews scenery. You have to almost feel sorry for Karl Urban as the assassin on Willis' trail...he doesn't get to have much fun...but he acquits himself well. I can almost envision him doing well as the star of a straight-laced action series on CBS.
Best of all is the hilarious John Malkovich. He steals every scene he's in with amazing ease. As the craziest of the REDs, he gets to let his tendencies to overact mightily just run wild...and it all works. His facial expressions alone had the audience in stitches.
RED is not a classic film by any means. But I must say, the 110 minutes I spent with these guys was a complete, guilty-pleasure blast. Maybe I'm just the right age (46) to enjoy this particular cast goofing around...but I sure noticed a lot of happy looking teens and 20-somethings all around me. I think this film is set up to be a nice little hit (with room for sequels).
I mean, anything that features Dame Mirren, an elegant evening gown, and a .50 cal machine gun can't be all bad. Once you stop taking it seriously (something sure to happen early on), it's a riot.
The basic message is a boomer ego-stroke: "Don't mess with the old guys." Unfortunately, that's what happens. Retired CIA agents start dying at an alarming rate. It turns out that the decedents all worked on the one particular mission - one that Our Heroes worked on as well. So, when the hit men come after the hit men, the chase is on. And, as it progresses it reaches higher and higher into the halls of government. You know, the usual.
In this movie, the fun is all in getting there. Bruce Willis's wise-cracking plays well against John Malkovich's slightly deranged character, Morgan Freeman's easy-going character balances them both, and Helen Mirren adds a touch of class. Then there's Mary-Louise Parker's character, Sarah, in a role like Diaz's in Knight and Day only not as ridiculous. Keep your ears open for the one-liners. There were enough times I was the only one in the theater laughing that I might have been the only one listening, too.
OK, maybe this isn't one for the ages. It's a heck of a way to spend a Saturday night, though.
This movie has it all. It's got:
- Lots of action. Even though Bruce Willis is playing an older, retired guy, he's still got the goods. He's completely convincing. The rest of the cast delivers as well.
- Funny moments - While it's not a continual thing, there are plenty of funny and light moments, with a few of laugh out louds. Willis is the master of action flick funny, and John Malkovich was surprisingly hilarious. The rest of the cast contributed well as straight guys.
- Romance - Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker really work. I don't want to ruin any surprises, but lets say it starts out and ends in a surprising way, and they had good chemistry.
- Character development - Surprisingly well done for an action flick. Each character was really defined, and you get to care about them.
- Suspense - It was really a good story, and well written. It was full of twists and surprises, with plenty of "edge of your seat" moments.
- Outstanding cast - The star power in this movie was blinding. These people really shined. They're not stars for nothing. Each person was fantastic in their role.
The beginning of the movie dragged just a bit, but once it took off, it really flew.
It was a really enjoyable movie. We recommend this movie highly, however please don't bring your young kids as one family in the theater did. There's too much violence for children.
on December 31, 2010
October 2010. If movies about social networking sites and mishmashes are what passes for "A truly cinematic experience" nowadays, I guess you could count me out. That is, until I noticed that a movie I never saw any trailers for, and full of stars, called RED was out. Easily taken in before I read anything about its plot, I went and saw it. That blind watch I'm definitely proud of!
RED is cliched in terms of story- a retired agent has his house destroyed by a secret agency and makes for the next state, picking up some friends along the way in an all-out, over-the-top action adventure. But as cliche as it is, RED is also just fun. We have Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis (in the tough guy role as usual), the chick from Weeds, Helen Mirren- all are fantastic. There's plenty of over-the-top action that's fun, it's hilarious, and overall it's a fun movie if all you ask for is just some pure escapist fun.
In the end, RED is definitely not art or Oscar material, but it is one of the most fun movies of 2010, and recommended for some pure entertainment!
"Red" (Retired Extremely Dangerous) is an action/adventure/comedy about four former CIA operatives who have never quite lost their addiction to adrenaline. During the opening credits, we observe a bored-looking Bruce Willis, who plays tough-as-nails Frank Moses, eating breakfast, working out, checking his mail, and chatting with a woman over the phone named Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) whom he would like to get to know better. It is Christmas season and every house is festively decorated. Suddenly, all heck breaks loose as a team of assassins closes in on Moses's house with enough firepower to destroy a city block. Who is targeting Frank and why?
Eventually, Moses teams up with his old buddies, Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), and the still sexy Victoria (Helen Mirren), all of whom are highly-trained former operatives with an encyclopedic knowledge of firearms and explosives. Since Frank has shown an interest in Sarah, she is dragged into the mess. They criss-cross the country trying to elude their pursuers and find out who is behind all of the mayhem.
This kind of satirical movie is extremely difficult to pull off. Director Robert Schwentke tries not to wink at the audience too much, and the old pros play their parts amusingly, only occasionally going too far over the top. The script by Jon and Erich Hoeber, based on a graphic novel, is insubstantial, and there are quite a few scenes of cartoonish violence. Since the screenplay is not exactly Shakespearean in scope, you will need to put your brain on hold. So, why should you see this film? If you have a free afternoon or evening and do not mind a bit of escapism, "Red" is an enjoyable diversion. Willis and his colleagues seem to be having a great time playing off one another and poking fun at the kind of character whom Bruce Willis portrayed so well during his salad days.
on December 28, 2010
I love spy stories, but I was reluctant to see this movie in the theaters because I thought the comedic aspect of it would make it a disaster. Boy, was I wrong. This film, with it's awesome cast, is the perfect blend of comedy and action and a must-have for any spy fan. Definitely grab this one.
on June 18, 2015
Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfus, & Mary Louise Parker were delightfully funny. Felt like we were invited on an outing to watch grown-ups play gangstas’—a good time & good fun all around. Karl Urban did an okay job playing the “bad guy,” but his character wasn’t quite as believable to me. A tough guy who was super-loving & protective of his family—out of sync with the “bad a__” role he was given (he’s good looking, though). Mirren seemed to enjoy herself, immensely. Willis & Malkovich were terrific together. Throw Freeman into the mix, & you’re gonna’ have a great time. What a hoot!
on November 5, 2015
The action filled shoot-‘em-up movie “Red” features a host of old stars, including Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and Richard Dreyfus. Though hardly believable, it is good entertainment. It even includes a poignant moment or two. To our chagrin, the F-word was interjected once when it didn't add one wit to the story.
on March 14, 2013
I know movies can be considered an art form, a way to make a social/political statement, and/or a means of experimenting with style and content. But let's face it -- many of us go to the movies not to be educated or culturally refined, but to be entertained. I know I've enjoyed my share of brainless but fun blockbusters, such as the "Transformers" film series and the "A-Team" movie, and will gladly choose a Pixar or Disney movie over a more "arty" foreign film. There are wonderful, art-worthy Oscar contenders that I will probably never watch again, simply because though I acknowledge they are good, they just weren't fun, while less artistically impressive movies will become a hit with me because of how much I enjoyed myself watching them.
"RED" is not an Oscar contender, and has absolutely no pretense of making a statement or considering itself high art. But it's a blast nonetheless.
(For the record -- no, I have not read the comic series this is based on, so I'm judging the film solely on its own merits.)
Frank Moses is a "RED" (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) CIA agent, trying to grow accustomed to a quiet civilian life and having slightly flirty phone conversations with Sarah, the customer service agent at his pension office. His attempts to relax and enjoy retirement are shattered when a hit squad attacks his house one night, sending him on the run. With a rather reluctant Sarah in tow, he makes a cross-country trip to round up his old CIA buddies -- Joe, terminally ill but still kicking; Marvin, paranoid and deliciously crazy; Victoria, an elegant and soft-spoken "wetwork" agent; and ex-Russian secret agent Ivan. As they put together the pieces and discover their team is being hunted down due to their connection with a military disaster in Guatemala, Frank is being pursued by young CIA agent and family man William Cooper, who follows orders with chilling precision but is seemingly unaware that he's being used as a tool by higher forces...
By far the best part of this film is the cast, containing such heavy hitters as Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Richard Dreyfuss. All of them look like they're having an absolute blast making this movie, and sling hot lead and sharp one-liners with equal zest. John Malkovich chews quite a bit of scenery as Marvin, easily making him one of the funniest characters in the film, and Helen Mirren shines as Victoria, obviously having fun being a proper lady with a machine gun. Richard Dreyfuss has only a few scenes as a smirky weapons dealer, but he hams it up enough that he's quite memorable. Morgan Freeman plays against type as Joe and has relatively few scenes for being one of the top-credited names, and Bruce Willis seems to be running mostly on autopilot as Frank Moses, but they're still both fun to watch and have some good lines. Mary-Louis Parker is sweet and spunky as Sarah, and Karl Urban (probably best known for "Star Trek") is mostly playing straight man to the rest of the crew as Cooper, but does his job well enough that I can see him carrying a "Bourne" style action series on his own.
The film operates solely on "Rule of Cool," eschewing realism for over-the-top explosions and loads of gunfire and fist-swinging action. I don't particularly mind this, as I was enjoying the ride too much to nitpick at any errors. This film knows what it is, and never has any pretense at art or high-minded storytelling. The downside is that the plot tends to fall by the wayside in favor of fight and shoot-out scenes, but there's a good deal of humor, character development, and even a sweet romance to make up for any deficiencies in the plot.
Very fun and entertaining action flick, with good actors and memorable jokes and scenes carrying the movie quite well despite the fairly weak plot. If you want a fun action flick, "RED" is a good choice, with something for just about everybody. It's not going to win any awards, but it's sure going to entertain you.
P.S. There's talk of a sequel... and reportedly when Helen Mirren was asked what it would take to get her into the sequel, she said "just send me a script." I can only hope something good comes of this... :D
on November 26, 2010
Retirement sucks, as anyone can tell you. For former black-ops CIA agents, the inactivity would drive a person insane. Bruce Willis (Frank Moses) is suffering from that insanity. He's a loner, his house lacking all the essential necessities to make it a home, and he's bored out of his mind. He doesn't know how to blend into the neighborhood, pitifully viewing the landscape for what is expected. His desperation, his loneliness, and the inactivity of retirement leads him to tear up his retirement check and call an ever patient, equally lonely customer service agent in Kansas City. The conversations with Sarah (Parker) are the highlight of his month and, through these conversations, he attempts to become more 'normal'. Someone should tell Frank that a man reading a romance novel is not considered 'normal'.
This retirement that eats at Frank's nerves is shattered when a hit squad attacks his house in the middle of the night. Frank, as skilled as ever, kills the assassins. Decades of training leads him to believe they have tapped his phone lines, and he's off to Kansas to save his phone buddy Sarah. Her reluctance to be saved (imagine someone you've only ever spoken to being in your home when you come back from an excrutiatingly boring date!) causes Frank to kidnap her.
Sarah goes on a wild ride with Frank while he attempts to discover who is trying to kill him and why. He travels cross country to find the members of his old black ops team, who are all equally retired and bored to death. Meanwhile, the viewer discovers the CIA is the machine behind the attempt on Frank's life.
Morgan Freeman (Joe Black) is at his suave self, living in a retirement community and suffering from stage 4 cancer. John Malkovich (LSD paranoid Marvin) hides in tunnels and carries a stuffed pig under his arm. Helen Mirren proves that mature women can be sexy carrying a high powered rifle,and arranging flowers in a Better Homes and Garden style home. Her comment about taking an 'odd job on the side' still makes me laugh.
This is an all-star cast of superb actors that deliver an action-packed, fast paced, comedic, and highly entertaining film. The twists and turns are thrilling. I loved every moment of it and it proves that even the retirees have a magnetic bit of life still left in them.