Monday, October 18, 2010

Red Film Review

There was a time when Bruce Willis had hair. And if you're older than thirty you remember it. Now, Willis is old and firmly in the AARP range. So it's fun to see the old man kick ass in the action-comedy, Red.

Based on the Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner's graphic novel of the same name, Red is the story of retired superspy Frank Moses. (Bruce Willis) Frank lives quietly in the suburbs where he routinely tears up his pension check so he can call and talk to Treasury customer service operator Sarah Ross. (Mary-Louise Parker) His quiet life is disrupted by an assassination attempt. Realizing that the assassins were professionals, Frank flees and kidnaps Sarah, fearing that she will also be killed.

They run to New Orleans to talk to an old CIA associate, Joe Matheson, for information. (Morgan Freeman) Joe gives them information that leads to the discovery of a hit list which Frank is on. They then seek the help of another ex-agent, the mentally unstable Marvin Boggs. (John Malkovich) The three then seek to find out why there is a contract on the people on the list. Along the way, they form a team with Joe, and another ex-spy, Victoria. (Helen Mirren)

The first thing about Red that you'll notice is the cast. You have great acting talent in Oscar winner Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss and Bruce Willis. The second thing you'll notice is the age of the principal characters. This is not a film about teenagers. You see Red stands for retired, extremely dangerous. The team are retired ex-spies. And what performances. Freeman is solid as always. Helen Mirren gives her character a Martha Stewart air yet she wields machine guns as good as the guys. Bruce Willis is good as the weary former spy. And John Malkovich steals the film as the mentally unbalanced and hilarious Marvin.

It's refreshing to see an action-comedy not made specifically for teenagers. There's some wild action but that's balanced out by some great humor and warmth. You do care about these characters and the credit should go to screenwriters, Jon and Eric Hoeber. Director Robert Schwentke has some cool camera angles and his direction keeps the film moving. Red is an action movie for the mature crowd. But you teenagers will love it too. The grade is A.

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