Hollywood has a tendency of taking its older A-List stars and as they age shoving them into the roles of quirky grandfather or boss of the main antagonist. “RED” takes that stereotype, flips it on its head and then shoots it.
“RED” is directed by Robert Schwentke (“The Time Traveler’s Wife”) and is being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“Transformers”) and is adapted from a comic book from “Wildstorm” and “Homage Comics.”
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) lives a quiet, non-extravagant life, with a daily routine that he can literally do with his eyes closed. Without any real contact with other human beings, he befriends his pension program agent Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) with daily doses of flirtation in their phone conversations. Frank is a retired C.I.A. operative, and when a hit squad sanctioned by the agency comes for him he has to go on the run. Knowing how the agency works in eliminating its targets and the people they are connected to, he goes to find Sarah and keep her safe. A clueless Sarah is a little less willing to go with this man that she never met, so Frank has to “persuade” her to go with him (for her own good).
Then, on a mission to find out why he has been set as a target, Frank goes to round-up his old team. First, he finds Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), a retired operative who keeps himself busy by ogling the young nurses at his retirement home. Then there’s Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), a paranoid recluse who lives in a swamp and waits in the bushes for fear of being killed by every plane or helicopter that flies overhead. Last to join with the old gang is Victoria (Helen Mirren), a killer who does flower arrangements to pass the time in her new life. Once together, the team makes a plan to break into the agency and figure out who has been sent to kill them and why.
Hot on their tail is Special Agent William Cooper (Karl Urban), who has been told to kill this group and although he doesn’t know why, he does what he is told with a little reluctance. Mix in a shady congressman with ulterior motives, an old black ops mission that someone wants to erase from ever happening and a constant supply of laughs and action and you have “RED.”
Very loosely based off the comics, “RED” took the characters from this more serious comic and added quirk and laughs and made it into a movie. Bruce Willis was perfectly cast as Frank Moses, he is the pinnacle of action star and let’s face it, he is getting older. The rest of the casting was pretty dead on: we got to see Morgan Freeman’s funny side in “The Bucket List”; Helen Mirren showed some gumption in “Inkheart”; and John Malkovich was hysterical in “Burn After Reading.” The surprise casting came with Mary-Louise Parker as Sarah Ross, not only is she funny, she has some of the biggest gags and set-ups in the movie. Her subtle and quiet demeanor goes out-the-door when things start to get dicey and it is a laugh-riot.
While it is not meant to be taken too seriously and there is a lot of predictability in the storyline, “RED” is a turn-your-brain-off movie that you can just sit back and enjoy. Almost a parody of spy films like “The Bourne Identity” mixed with “Men in Black” and this year’s “Killers,” it’s a fun movie to watch. A movie that could have easily gone into fan-boy territory, “RED” is enjoyable for people of all ages and is accessible to the majority of the viewing public. Yes, we can nitpick at the story and some of its sub-plots, but while watching it I didn’t really want to.
“RED” successfully completes what it set out to do, bring some fun to the audience for a few hours. The supporting cast also includes: Ernest Borgnine, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss and Julian McMahon. So if you want to go to the movies and just enjoy yourself, I suggest you head on down to your local theater and see “RED.”
“RED” shoots its way into theaters Oct. 15, and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language.
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