10 Nov

Title: Red
Robert Schwentke
Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, based on the comic book series by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner
Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, Ernest Borgnine
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language
111 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:


This is one all-star cast Red has, and even though it’s not the best action movie ever, it’s still a really above average thrill ride. And that’s thanks to its stars, who are all just seriously cool, and to its source material, a really stylish three-issue comic book series that gives the film all of its wittiness. This is a seriously kick-ass film, when they filmed in Toronto the local police got calls reporting machine guns being fired when it was actually the gunshot effects used in the film, that’s how kick-ass this film is.

The good thing about Red is that it never once tries to take itself seriously, it just tries to have a helluva good time, and on that count it succeeds tremendously. It doesn’t try to be a good movie, it doesn’t want any awards, it just wants to entertain, which in today’s film industry is easier said than done. This is a film fool of very cool actors, though all arguably a bit old. Bruce Willis is 55, John Malkovich 56, Morgan Freeman 73, Helen Mirren 65, Richard Dreyfuss 63, and Ernest Borgnine is a whopping 93. Karl Urban and Mary-Louise Parker, the young ones of this cast, are 38 and 46, respectively, which is still really old when compared to the usual actors chosen for these sort of films. And I liked it better this way, these are true quality actors having a lot of fun but still giving reliable performances.

RED stands for  “Retired: Extremely Dangerous”, which of course explains the above stated age group of its castmembers. Mr. Willis plays an ex-black ops agent, who then finds out that he has a target on his back, and so he enlists back his killing squad to mount up a defensive strategy. They are a cool team, Mr. Freeman is the one with liver cancer, Ms. Mirren is a English lady named Victoria, Mr. Cox is an Russian named Ivan, and Mr. Malkovich is Mr. Malkovich, you really need no more explaining. By the way, a nice little fact, in real life Ms. Mirren, though very much English, is actually the one of Russian descent, while Mr. Cox is, of course, English.

Mary-Louise Parker is awesome in petty much everything she does, she’s the reason why Weeds is still such a good TV show, and in here she’s pretty sweet to watch, too. Her acting may be far off from the best its ever been, but it’s still quite cool. She plays Sarah, who’s taken along for the ride by Mr. Willis’ character, Frank. She’s taken because she’s the phone operator at the agency overseeing his retirement and in the process Frank’s fallen for her and thinks she may also be in danger. They have never met each other besides their phone conversations, so you already know how their relationship will go.

Red has conspiracies, complots, corrupt branches of the government, and lots of complicated things like that which, in any other movie that had gotten these actors, would have been explored more fully. But those complex aspects of the film are left unexplored and it just goes ahead and distracts us with action scene after action scene, while being kinda funny at times, too.

That sometimes is a problem though, not that it has fun with itself, but that sometimes it seems as though the film thinks it’s funner than it actually is. It’s like a guy who’s quite cool, and who you like, but that sometimes starts acting cooler than he actually is, pretending to be something else, which bugs you like crazy. That’s my one problem with Red, that in all its cleverness (because it really has some very smart moments) it overestimates itself, it doesn’t happen throughout its entirety, but it does happen, and that can be annoying at times.

But overall Red is fun, it could have been funner, that’s true, but it’s still a very nice ride to go on. And as I said, it thinks it’s hipper than it actually is, but still, this alongside with The Expendables proves that older actors can kick just as much, if not more ass than their younger counterparts, and, more importantly, they can act better too. Sure, there are no standout performances here, Mr. Willis has done this act plenty of times, but they are far better than in most of the younger-actor-starring films, especially the one given by Helen Mirren who with Red proves that she can seriously rock every single role she’s given. Because, really, what sight is better than seeing Dame Helen Mirren fire away on a machine gun? That alone is worth the price of admission.

Grade: B


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