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When Bruce Willis plays his indestructible yet on the surface everyday
guy he is right where the audience loves him. In RED, "Retired
Extremely Dangerous", he has a close to perfect vehicle. And, so RED
delivers in spite of a fairly ridiculous scenario of a group of ex-CIA
operatives,or which Willis is one, being singled out for execution on
the eve of the vice-president announcing his candidacy for president.
We get the message from the first that Willis is somewhat lonely and bored with retirement and is searching for a companion to make his new life matter. He isn't aching to get back to fast track, but is venerable and is fixated on a kind and cheery voice on the other end of the phone line when he complains about not getting his pension checks (he tears them up just to talk to his "handler"). He arranges a meeting with the sweet sounding gal just prior to everything falling apart because the CIA sends in a "wet" team to erase him. As suspected the CIA, as well as most all the resources of the government, are not up to the task.
Willis reassembles his old team, all in his age bracket or older, in order to survive. That team, if not on the surface a formidable threat, is pure cinematic gold as it consists of excellent performances by Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. It is almost impossible not to like this film because of the wonderfully entertaining supporting cast. In fact Malkovich steals the show providing the correct dosage of crazed comic relief. This leads to impossible feats making for deliciously served up entertainment; all with a "nod-and-a-wink" that cuts through the unbelievable. Great action with comedy! Richard Dreyfus turns in a solid performance as a spoiled smart-ass (uber-wealthy and powerful) arms dealer who pulls strings behind the scenes. And, Ernest Borgnine has a cameo role which is memorable.
It's a character driven action comedy that truly is RED (ridiculous, entertaining, delightful). This movie gets a 7.5 and, as such, is hard to fault in spite of being pure light-weight fluff. See it and smile.
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.
When I first saw the trailer for The Expendables, I was already
thinking of the interesting and funny relationship between the
characters played by those action icons. After a zillion trailers and a
movie, I was sourly disappointed. Now, I don't know who's fault it is,
but relative to The Expandables, I almost haven't heard of Red before
its release. However, it was exactly what I was looking for.
You have a great team of actors. They are not even action heroes, maybe that did it, but they do a great job. just look at that cast: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox, Hellen Mirren, Richard Dreyfuss, even Ernest Borgnine! As the young(er) crew, Karl Urban and Mary-Louise Parker are in it and they both play well. But more than that, each character actually has a role. They don't just come in, say a few inconsequential things, then die or are completely forgotten *cough* James Remar *cough*.
So it had the ridiculously packed action and at times it looked and sounded like Ocean's Eleven, who cares? The rest was great! Even the fight scenes... not even the bad guys go out in full view firing wildly then getting shot. People actually took cover, helped each other and synchronized their moves. The lines were funny and somewhat complex and all the people on the set were clearly having fun doing what they loved.
Bottom line: I don't know, maybe because the director is unseasoned in the ways of Hollywood the movie turned out to be so good. Or maybe it was the cast. Or maybe it was the fun of it. The movie turned out great, with a few screw-ups that I am ready to ignore. The mash-up is Jason Bourne meets The Expendables via, luckily for us, just a pinch of Ocean's Eleven.
You will leave this film laughing. The action scenes are really good
but it's the characters and actors that makes this film worth seeing.
The casting in this film was perfect! Great all around supporting cast.
Morgan Freeman is always a nice touch to any film. Helen Miran firing a
Rambo sized gun is worth the admission alone. If you miss the classic
Bruce Willis Action Comedies this one makes up for all the bad ones in
recent years. But what really makes this film worth seeing in theatres
with an audience is John Malkovich! John Malkovich steals the show with
maybe the performance of his career. If Johnny Depp can get nominated
for "Pirates" and Robert Downey Jr. can get nominated for "Tropic
Thunder", then Malkovich should get nominated for this, seriously.
Every time he came on screen the whole theatre would be dying with
Movies are expensive now and not all of them are worth seeing in theatre but this one is. It's not the best film ever made, the story could have been a little tighter, but I can promise you'll have a lot of fun and you will be laughing your ass off through most of it.
I never thought much of this film prior to viewing it, as many others
might not have either, but if you have even the slightest inclination
to view this, you must! The story is typical, nothing special about the
basic plot synopsis, but the delivery and the interesting plot twists
keeps it fresh and interesting. The humour is hilarious, mostly a
subtle humour that is apparent throughout the entire film, in nearly
Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, and Karl Urban all excel, as would be expected. It is refreshing watching Bruce Willis star in another action film, alongside Mary-Louise Parker (the gorgeous mother in Weeds) no less. John Malkovich plays the paranoid role quite astonishingly and Helen Mirren firing large weapons, including a gatling gun, is amazing! Every name above plays an equal part in the film, which is amazing. I never had so many characters in a single movie that I highly enjoyed equally. Remarkably done with talent seeping through the actors and vividly portrayed on the screen.
Don't expect this film to change the history of all films, but expect it to exceed in entertainment. If you give it a chance, you won't be disappointed. It's definitely a Friday night flick, something that is easily enjoyed.
You're wrinkly, have health issues and your age is higher than the
calibre of your gun. So what's a senior to do? Why get a bigger gun of
course. That is certainly one of many philosophies in the action comedy
RED (That would be Retired Extremely Dangerous for those still living
in fear of Communism. Hey, it is the right age bracket) which collects
a who's who of Oscar-grade talent and has them blow stuff up real good.
This is but the fourth men-on-a-mission film so far this year after The
Expendables, The A-Team and The Losers, heck even Inception could fall
into that group. The good news is with the exception of the latter it
is the best of the bunch and by far the most fun you're bound to have
this fall season.
Now onto the CIA. I don't know what they're dipping their dirty little fingers into Stateside but in addition to being at the center of some ticked off senior's attention in RED, they have been the villains in aforementioned The Losers and The A-Team as well as Salt and Knight & Day. Talk about your need for homeland security, they had better keep one of those high-tech satellites over Hollywood. At the receiving end of the Central Intelligence Agency's scope are a band of former operatives including the "kid" of the group, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), the ailing Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), the brain-fried eccentric, Marvin Boggs (John Malcovich) and the sultry heartbreaker, Victoria (Helen Mirren). Brian Cox also shows up as a Ruskie who may or may not have been previously shot by one of the former. Though not having seen action in a good decade, they have been deemed "RED" by an unknown force, which means curtains for this rag-tag bunch of geriatrics.
The cast truly is great in RED, and I don't simply mean the actors in general; they simply all give full-on great, funny performances. The subtle (but hilarious) underlying lament of these characters is they all reminisce over their past lives as hardened assassins and pine just to kill one more little ol' person. More at the forefront of course is the bang-on wry humour and delicious action sequences. This is old fashion stunt work at play here (fittingly perhaps) and I'll take it over a green screen any day. These bursts of adrenaline are dumb to be sure, but not totally ludicrous; think of a cross between Die Hard and Enemy of the State. What they are not is anything short of exciting and kinetic, and are interspersed with laughs in such a way as to not drift to one focus too long. RED also gleefully embraces its comic book origins, using playful transitions as the globe-trotting commences. Yet again, director Robert Schwentke never revels in one gimmick for too long and the film goes down smooth and easy as a result.
The younger cast is more than worth mentioning as well, with the highest accolades going to Mary-Louis Parker from TV's Weeds. There is a joke in RED which I am not sure was intentioned, when after being injected with a knockout-drug, Parker's Sarah exclaims "I'm so high". She steals most scenes when given the chance but her character (a love interest of Frank who unintentionally gets caught up in the fracas) is utilized far more towards the beginning of the film. Karl Urban is also solid as a CIA operative tasked in finding the RED's but becomes suspicious at his orders which grow increasingly corrupt. I always wonder in the movie world how they would explain attack helicopters shredding an airport to the general public. The government must have some amazing PR agents on staff. Richard Dreyfus (in his second cameo of the year after Piranha) is also well used as an oily arms dealer who comes across the team's path.
Summit Entertainment is pulling out all the marketing stops for this film, and I am happy to report the results seem to be worth the glamour. While venturing through my theatres ticket checkpoint they stamped my stub "confidential" instead of ripping it, and a squad of agents clad in sunglasses and suits patrolled the lobby. The showing seemed to be a generous mix of old and new patrons and that really comes as no surprise. Even though the majority of the cast has long breached 60, these are actors generations of all ages still admire. Even if they are not the draws they once were (some of them never were) this is a great example of people showing up to see actors, performers, and not special effects. RED may be imperfect, it may not even be particularly fresh, but it exudes something movies lack far too often: fun.
Red manages to balance the line between action thriller, and light
comedy, and does it quite well.
Frank Moses(Bruce Willis) a former C.I.A. agent is now retired, and living a simply, and at times boring life. His only joy of the day when he calls Sarah(Mary Louise Parker) a customer service agent, who he likes, Frank pretends not to get a monthly check, just an excuse to talk to her. But Franks simply life is interrupted, when he learns that somebody has put hit on his life, he goes on the run, after escaping an attempt on his life. He takes Sarah along too, much to her dismay. And gets his old team back together(Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich) in hopes to uncover who is behind the hits, but will they before it's too late?
I really don't agree with the critics on this one. Red was entertaining. It's funny without trying to get overly silly. Action scenes where good. Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, and Morgan Freeman. But it's John Malkovich who steals the show, with his funny one liners. And also a great co starring role by veteran actor Ernest Borgnine.
Went to watch a preview screening of this last night. I should qualify
that I'm a big fan of Bruce Willis especially when he plays this kind
of character - a tough guy with a wry sense of humour.
Really interesting mix of genres here - think action/comedy/romance rolled up into one. Just enough romance without being sappy, heaps of action to keep it exciting and the occasional comedy touches which had the whole audience laughing out loud.
It's not going to win any Oscars but don't take it too seriously and you'll be taken along for a pretty enjoyable ride.
Worth a watch - great date movie - possibly one to wait for DVD for...
RED CATCH IT ( B+ ) Red completely justified to its Slogan "Retired-Extreme-Dangerous". The whole movie plays out really cool, funny and clever. In recent times Bruce Willis's movies becomes very cocky and senseless despite of lots of heavy Action, Drama and even comedy. RED is funny from the beginning and opening phone chat sequence between Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker gives out lots of dept and characterization. After that it's a non-stop roller coaster ride and we get to meet so many interesting characters one by one. Now let's talk about the great actors who actually made the movie work like no one has expected. Bruce Willis is at his best in RED, I think after Die Hard action franchise finally Bruce Willis got another action franchise which can be preceded further. Bruce's amazing wit, Sharp action moves made it really thrilling experience. Trust Me! Watching Bruce Willis coming out of the heavy speed moving car was just outlandish. You have to watch that scene to believe it! Mary-Louise Parker is adorable, after watching her racy/funny side on "WEEDS" from almost 4, 5 years; it's so fun to see her in Big Star studded movie with her crazy witness and attitude. She is really fun to watch, the chemistry between Bruce Willis & Mary-Louise Parker is wonderful. John Malkovich is Hilarious; I never knew this man can be so funny, his moves, dialogues thus every thing was great, and he pretty much steals the scene when he is on screen. Morgan Freeman was the slowest among all of them in humor I guess, though he did pretty decent job in his small role. Last but not the Least we are introduced to Dame Helen Mirren, who just simply stole the show, seriously watching her moving that machine gun like a fire cracker is unbelievable. She brought the utmost charisma to the team of RED. The youngest cast member of the movie was promising actor Karl urban, his tux made him move like 007 & he gave an utmost completion to the RED team, the best thing about Karl urban was that he brought freshness to the movie. Brian Cox, Julian McMohan and Richard Dreyfuss were good. Overall it's a fun ride which no one should miss on any chance. Watch it in first moment!
Silly is the operative word but also very entertaining. What did it for me was the cast. Helen Mirren lifts whatever she is in and the endearing thing about her is that she's not "precious" She goes for it and her fun becomes our fun. Hurrah for that! To go into the plot seems an exercise in futility because that's not what we will enjoy particularly but Mirren holding a machine gun with relish, the wonderful Mary Louise Parker tied to a bed or Brian Cox with a Russian accent and a mischievous spark in his eye. John Malkovich, I hope he soon plays a woman, he would be marvelous as Edna in "The Edna May Oliver Story" He is such fun to watch. Bruce Willis can do this kind of film in his sleep and he kind of does and Morgan Freeman? Well, he's always worth the trouble. The film has already vanished from my brain but the cast is glorious.
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