Saying this film looks “fun” is an understatement (even though I don’t think I’m among the intended audience). Whether it’s the explosions in the trailer or, more likely, seeing Helen Mirren in something so out of her normal roles, Red is something I had to see.
Red (2010) Film Review
Since his retirement, life is mundane but idyllic for Frank Moses (Bruce Willis). The neighborhood is nice and rather than the exotic locales, the highlight of his day is calling the government pension offices. His government issued check allows him to contact their offices with complaints of misdirection when in reality, he rips up the checks. Little does the operator realize that all he’s really doing is calling because he enjoys their conversation. Sarah (Mary Louise-Parker) has her plan for life all mapped out. She plans to travel the world, only instead she’s stuck in her crummy cubicle.
Frank’s plans to meet Sarah go awry when masked men invade his home. Getting to Sarah just in time to save her, the two escape with their lives, all while a meticulous hit man (Karl Urban) is at their back. Former CIA, Frank recruits some of his old unit so they can fight back, a gang that includes Joe (Morgan Freeman) who lives in a retirement community; while Marvin (John Malkovich) is semi-crazy; and, finally the weapons expert, Victoria (Mirren).
When you put comedy into an action, spy caper sort of movie, it takes a certain talent. Sometimes it fails miserably, sometimes it excels wonderfully. Red fits into the latter’s category. It’s, quite literally, a blast! The balance isn’t the best since the movie is quite funny in the first half then things turn slightly more serious in the second. What writers do is give the comedy some unique kind of incredulous manner so that though we can’t quite believe its absurdity, at the same time there is a realistic comical ingenuity.
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Once-in-a-blue moon, something comes along that stretches your usual viewing choices, but is too much fun to pass up. Turns out this particular story is insane; funny, interesting and perhaps most unexpected, clever. Like most capers, we expect the usual letdown when the big mystery is unveiled but instead the script is actually rather inventive.
A slower start struggles to put the entire team together which means the majority of screen time belongs to Bruce and Mary. This is, nonetheless, a fantastic cast. Everyone brings their A-game. None more so than screen legend Helen Mirren (who doesn’t show up until an hour in), a woman who deserves more screen presence than she does. Who else could pull off expertly using a machine gun in a white evening gown?
Though also impossible, I have to admit, the action scenes are really fun and just work. It’s tough to describe the fun that ensues in the movie. Everyone is so different and I wouldn’t want to raise hopes to spoil the film anyway. Post end, there is one last snapshot of the gang with the promise of a sequel in the works (I am one fan who’d be thrilled at this prospect!); it shouldn’t be long before we’ll see “RED” in action again. Who’d have thought something so “common” could be such fun?
You can digitally rent or own Red (2010) digitally on Amazon Video
Content: there is probably three to four major standoffs, most with a bunch of men wielding machine guns. Two men die, others suffer gunshot wounds; there is also some people “blown-up” [non-graphic]. They misuse Jesus’ name or GD half a dozen times, otherwise there is the standard issue of profanities; sh*t and one unfortunate use of the f-word. The film is PG-13.