RED (2010)

DVD Cover (Summit Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 70%
Overall Rating
Ranked #476
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Connections: RED

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last-ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 22, 2010
Aren't old people lovable? Don't you wanna just run up to them and pinch their cheeks and make sure their oxygen masks are securely fastened to their faces? Don't you wanna just listen to them tell stories for hours and hours while you drink hot chocolate and rub Ben-Gay on their feet? The old people in "Red" ain't those kind of grandmas and grandpas. The old people in "Red" are bad-ass assassins who will stop at nothing to see you dead, dying or wish you were either. The film is based on the DC Comics graphic novel of the same name and comes to us from the man who brought us..."The Time Traveler's Wife"...?

Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, a retired CIA bad-ass whom has had a difficult time adjusting to his life of respite. He tears up his pension check every month just so he can call and complain to Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), his claims representative. One night Frank is attacked by some mean guys with guns who literally shoot his house to death. He dispatches of them rather quickly and we realize Frank is a little more than your average CIA agent. He travels to find Sarah and save her also because her life is now under attack. Along the way he picks up a hand full of his old accomplices: Marvin (John Malkovich), a paranoid and somewhat delusional psychopath; Joe (Morgan Freeman), a cancer-ridden citizen of an old age home; and Victoria (Helen Mirren), a prim and proper Brit who specializes in all things death. Together they must decide why the CIA is trying to kill them, how to keep it from happening and how to keep from being ripped apart by enemy fire.

The beauty of "Red" lies in the performances. This film is a treat for anyone who likes seeing some of the finest actors around have fun for two hours. Ernest Borgnine pops up as the records keeper, Richard Dreyfuss turns in a performance as the baddie of the film and Brian Cox plays a Russian spy. And these are just the damned supporting performances. Willis, Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren are all having a blast here and seem to be only getting better with age. Their comic timing is still impeccable and they build very memorable characters with a script that does not lend a terrible amount to character development. Most successful at this is Mirren who really does shine in a role we will probably never see her play again.

What "Red" also gets right is the pace. This film has plenty of action, plenty of gunshots and plenty of violence, but it takes time to stop and give our characters time to shine. It has a quirky sensibility to it that reminded me a lot of "Grosse Point Blank" from the late-90's. Violent and terrible things are happening but our heroes are treating them in such a passive-aggressive way that it seems all right. Isn't is strange how a film can just make you overlook senseless death? I cannot count how many helpless CIA agents are killed for doing their jobs. But it's okay that they are killed because they are the 'bad guys' in this particular formula. I am not saying this as a negative, just to point out that the film handles this quite well.

I have never read the graphic novel so I cannot attest to accuracy but I do know that "Red" entertained the hell out of me thanks to some damned fun performances and a nice sense of itself. And kudos to Ernest Borgnine for still being alive and able to act. It's such a treat to watch him on screen. 8/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 11/11/2010, 11:55 PM
John Malkovich was the best part about this movie. 9/10
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