Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.
Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.
Frank (Bruce Willis) is retired, bored, and lonely living off his government pension in a nondescript suburb in an equally nondescript house. The only joy in Frank's life is his calls to the government pension processing center when he gets to talk to his case worker, Sarah (Mary-Louis Parker). Sarah is as bored and lonely as Frank and marks her conversations with the unknown Frank and her spy novels as the only things fun in her life. When something in Frank's past forces Frank back into his old line of work and puts an unwitting Sarah in the middle of the intrigue, Frank and Sarah begin a journey into Frank's past and the people he used to work with. Like Frank they are all RED ... Retired Extremely Dangerous. Written by
Malcolm is Crazy
John Malkovich read the first 40 pages of the script and liked it. But he asked his agent why he was up for the role of Frank. He said Malkovich had been reading the wrong lines. He was up for Marvin's role instead. See more »
When Joe is introducing Victoria to Sara He says, "she is an artist with an RPN", some might think this is a mistake thinking it should be RPG. Others might think, because she is dressed in white and is going to extract Frank's bullet, that she has an "RN" or that it is something like "LPN" ("RPN" would be 'Registered Practical Nurse'). It is probably not a mistake. When referring to RPN and "being an artist with an RPN" they are most likely referring to a series light machine gun (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Nikonova) similar to an RPK. See more »
[on the phone]
943-66-2291. Pension Services, please.
Thank you, Mr. Moses, please hold for your representative.
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Bullets, guns and explosions play out over the end credits. See more »
John McClane, Cyrus the Virus, God and The Queen team up and kill people for laughs
A retired CIA operative, hunted by his own people, reunites his old team for one last mission. It's certainly not an original story, mashing together ideas that we've seen before in the Bourne series, The Expendibles and The Losers. 'RED' (which stands for 'Retired, Extremely Dangerous') is the 4th film this year to be adapted from a graphic novel. It is also the 4th to feature men going on a mission, and the 5th with a plot involving the CIA. I couldn't help but feel skeptical. But then I noticed the cast list and realised that this is meant to be a comedy. At this point I saw the project in a different light. 'RED' is a film in which John McClane, God, Cyrus the Virus and The Queen join forces and kill people for laughs. Clearly this was going to be a film where story and sense came second to cast and chemistry.
From 'Die Hard' to 'Sin City', Bruce Willis' good-guy-having-a-bad-day routine has evolved little, but it does not need to be fixed. His performance in 'RED' is familiar, but he is never less than entertaining. This time he brings with him an air of self-parody. Throughout the film he maintains a carefree poker-face, as though he's done this so many times over the years that he can afford to be relaxed. There are valid attempts at making Willis seem more normal, and these can be quite amusing. The first 10 minutes, which show him adjusting to retirement and aimlessly wandering around the house in his dressing gown, are reminiscent of Carl Fredricksen's first appearance as an old man in 'Up'. Deeper characterisation, however, only serves to show how abnormal he really is, and it is a delight to see him in action.
With the exception of Willis, the cast is made up of actors who have no business waving guns around. Helen Mirren was an inspired choice, as if making up for the predictability of Willis' casting. Flower-arranging OAP on the outside and bad-ass hit-woman on the inside, Mirren is strangely suited to action. There is something about the juxtaposition of her gran-like demeanour with exaggerated violence that makes her very funny and extremely watchable.
John Malkovich is particularly entertaining in his performance as a mentally questionable conspiracy theorist who refuses to retire peacefully. After the numerous roles he has played with an undercurrent of insanity, it is hilarious to see him go full-on howling mad. It is not often that Malkovich gets to flex his comedy muscles, but he steals every scene in which he appears.
Morgan Freeman is unfortunately the weakest part of this alternative A-Team, not because of his performance but because he is under-utilised. He has little action time and even less characterisation. There is a glimpse at pervy-old-man behaviour (which could have been funny) and a mention of health problems (which could have been touching) but these are quickly forgotten. It is as though the writers were distracted, trying too hard to develop a secondary storyline involving Willis' romance with a pension office clerk. This subplot adds little and distracts from the main picture. It is a pity, because the wasted effort could have been more effectively put into making the story tighter, or on giving Morgan Freeman more screen time.
Overall, this is a good laugh, even if you won't remember it afterwards. Taking things less seriously and trying less hard to be cool means that 'RED' is more fun than 'The Expendibles', and less embarrassing too. Stallone can mumble all he wants about "shooting real action" - I'd rather see the Queen fire machine guns.
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