Monday, October 18, 2010


Film: RED (2010)
Dir: Robert Schwentke
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars

RED is based on Warren Ellis’s graphic novel of the same name. The title stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous, which is a codename for the lead characters – all older, former operatives. The concept of this film did not exactly lure me in. It sounded like another in a series of old-guys-doing-young-people-things movies, like Wild Hogs or Space Cowboys. Yawn. As it turns out, I was very wrong. The movie is badass and occasionally hilarious. It does not hurt that it is full of great actors, too. In short, this is the epitome of a fun popcorn flick.

Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired CIA agent trying to lead a normal, quiet life. The most exciting part of his life these days is flirting on the phone with lonely pensions clerk Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Then his idyllic life is interrupted by a team of black-ops who want him dead. Frank hits the road with an unwilling Sarah and seeks out the help of some old friends. Among the recruits are Marvin (John Malkovich), a paranoid schizophrenic; Joe (Morgan Freeman), an 80-year-old former black-ops agent; and Victoria (Helen Mirren), a deadly British operative. Together they uncover a contract on their heads and a series of government cover-ups.

I have not read the graphic novel, so I cannot compare the two, but this film adaptation is pure fun. The action is genuinely exciting, albeit over-the-top. The main actors basically play funnier variations of their typical roles – Freeman as the wise old man; Willis as a badass; Malkovich as a nutcase; and Mirren as a tough old broad. I don’t mind because they play the roles so well. These so-called old farts kick some major ass, especially Mirren, who knows how to rock an Uzi. Also, the movie is really funny, largely thanks to Malkovich’s scene-stealing performance. In addition to the great leads, the film is loaded with fun supporting performances from Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, James Remar, Julian McMahon, and Ernest Borgnine.

RED is one of many graphic novel adaptations to come out this year. While the others generally disappointed me (Kick-Ass; The Losers), this one completely exceeded my expectations. Do not make any assumptions about the film based on its title, cast, concept, or even trailer. Just go see it. It won’t be winning any Oscars come February, but if you want to have some brainless fun, this is your movie.


Hitmandj said...

Nice review, good movie, very fun watch. I agree completely with your review, definitely worth a watch from anyone looking for fun.

Rick "The Hat" Bman said...

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. It was actually a whole lot of fun and it had a pretty good sense of humor.