Run time: 111 min
Genres: Action | Comedy | Crime
Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Stars: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman
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 are 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
|Plot Keywords: cia, interrogation, russian, christmas, assassin|
Release Date: 22 October 2010 (UK)
Budget: $58,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £1,662,472 (UK) (22 October 2010)
Gross: $90,356,857 (USA) (28 January 2011)
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 laughter.
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.
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.