Starring: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Ernest Borgnine, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss
Directed By: Robert Schwentke
Written By: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 51 min
Loosely based on the graphic novel mini-series from Wildstorm comics, RED (Retired And Dangerous) is an action comedy about a group of retired CIA agents. Played here with a nice wink and a smile by Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich. With Mary-Louise Parker thrown in as Willis’ love interest, Sarah Ross. A bored office clerk who dreams of the kind of action and adventure you only find in crappy spy novels.
Which is exactly what RED is, a crappy a spy novel, granted time on the silver screen, and mined for giggles. A relatively by the numbers plot, sprinkled with no-brainer fun moments by writers, Jon and Erich Hoeber. Who wisely pace out the character introductions to keep the film interesting, but also don’t give this great cast anything all that interesting to say.
Director Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D, yes, that was his fault) also keeps things moving along nicely, and the film certainly doesn’t sit still for very long as it hops from location to location around the US. Putting our elderly (though I’d hardly call Bruce Willis elderly, at least not to his face) heroes in harm’s way, without actually creating any tension or drama.
RED never manages to settle on a tone either. It’s set in the ‘real’ and dangerous world of CIA agents and government intrigue, but plays out with over the top action sequences that just don’t make any sense. With government agents and police firing their weapons (including a bazooka) in public places. And at one point early on in the movie, opening fire on a suburban home. The action, while decently shot, speaks to the fun nature of the film’s premise, but at the same time seems implausible within the universe established in this film.
This is a light, somewhat stupid and somewhat fun movie. If the idea of Helen Mirren being a bad-ass ex MI6 agent appeals to you, then by all means check RED out. The movie is rated PG-13 for mild language and violence.
This movie will be serviced well enough in HD on a TV, laptop or tablet.
It was fun watching Helen Mirren be a super classy ex MI6 bad-ass, and John Malcovich’s paranoid conspiracy nut, Marvin Boggs, was a nice addition to the film.