When I first heard about ‘RED’, I was unsure if I would like it. Sure, Bruce Willis was responsible for the legendary ‘Die Hard’, but that’s the problem with legends – they’re in the past. Willis has been very hit and miss since then, at least for me. However, I looked at the cast featuring the likes of Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman among others and I realised there was no way I could miss out on watching this movie. My faith was rewarded with a lovely action-comedy, a film which kept me thoroughly entertained throughout.
The movie centres around a bored, lonely, retired CIA agent named Frank Moses (Willis). Frank is trying to live a peaceful post-retirement life and fills his time with house repair and phonecalls to the government pension processing centre where he converses with Sarah (Mary-Louis Parker). The two count each other as the only fun aspect of their life, until one day he and his love interest become targets of a high-tech assassin. He decides to bring back his old team of Retired and Extremely Dangerous agents, to track down his attackers and get his peaceful life back by any means necessary. The movie does have a tendency to go off on a tangent, with quite a few different storylines, some of which aren’t exactly crucial. If you are really into the movie you probably won’t take issue with this, but there is a risk of this rubbing you up the wrong way. Even I found that these extra storylines meant the film probably dragged on for an added 20 minutes that wasn’t necessary.
‘RED’ has a great cast of talented actors who work very well together. John Malkovich has often been cast as that eccentric, crazy guy but arguably never as effectively as in this film. Meanwhile the likes of Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman add a touch of class to complement the brass and grit of Bruce Willis. I personally love Helen Mirren’s character in this movie; Victoria is sophisticated, a well-trained assassin, and as witty as ever.
It’s hard to find fault with the movie, on the whole it delivered exactly what I expected. However there are moments which become rather silly and unrealistic, so if you are looking for something more grounded you may be disappointed. I enjoy a bit of gun-slinging as much as anyone, but it gets to a point where it becomes almost excessive and tiresome. But just when you think the violence and action is getting you down, a refreshing tide of humour lightens the mood of the whole film, with plenty of great one-liners combined with fun action scenes reminiscent of a bygone era.
The movie is packed with lots of great action scenes, brought to life by a wonderful cast. I really enjoy seeing older actors who can still hold their own in terms of physical based acting when compared to younger actors. ‘RED’ is highly enjoyable and entertaining throughout, with a little love story or two along the way; all the ingredients for a truly wonderful film. Just remember that you are unlikely to gain any insight into the reality of CIA operatives and their work here, so overlook the fantastical elements and just enjoy a fun action flick.
DIRECTOR: ROBERT SCHWENTKE
STARRING: BRUCE WILLIS, HELEN MIRREN, MORGAN FREEMAN, JOHN MALKOVICH, MARY-LOUISE PARKER