“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Robert Schwentke / Actors: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker ... / DVD released 2011-02-14 at entertainmentone / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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This is a fantastic movie with the most brilliant of actors and actresses playing their part, as Elderly retired but most dangerous Secret Agents. Hence RED, this stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous.
Simple plot, Try not to get killed by government agents who feel threatened by you,then seek out who it is and try and kill them first.
Picking on Big Bruce Willis was always going to be a bad idea, and then to give him backup such a big mistake. Laughed my butt off literally. Thought the whole premise a very good one and loved the explosions and mayhem they all created.(Look out for that pig)
To start with you have the wonderful casting by Director: Robert Schwentke
To name but a few as there is a hefty casting list I feel the main characters in the film were all that is necessary here.
They all did a remarkable job of this and made you feel quite cosy watching it, with some really smoozy bits thrown into the action it was a lovely feel good kind of movie. It all starts off with Bruce Willis (Frank Moses)who is at his obviously relocated house trying to fit in with the neighbours , this he does really badly as he almost forgets to put Christmas on the lawn like all the others.
Then there is a gun fight and an explosion as he is under attack by someone who has a grudge against him it would appear,which necessitates his need to escape the house before it blows up. In between this he makes friend with a nice young lady at the dole office and decides now is a good time to meet her face to face.
This is really where things start to hot up as the young lady in question Mary - Louise Parker (Sarah Ross) A clerk in the dole office wishes her life could be a bit more exciting , not realizing just what she may have inadvertently wished herself into.
They go on the run and meet up with Morgan Freeman,who plays Joe Matheson he is retired in an old peoples home and finds someone comes for him to shoot him. John Malkovich plays Marvin Boggs a psycho who seems to think everyone is out to get him, and then finds that oh yeah they really are. He never goes anywhere without his "pig".
Being neurotic he sees enemies where ever he goes. Paranoia overload here. But so funny.
Then we meet Helen Mirren who is Victoria a beautiful ex spy taking residence in a lovely house and getting to grips with Women's Institute and culinary arts including flower arranging with the odd hit on the side. She has a love interest and Russian Spy played by Brian Cox is (Ivan Simonov)which made for entertaining watching.
A Quote from the film.
Victoria: I was in love with an agent once.
Sarah Ross: What happened?
Victoria: Well, I was with MI6, and the relationship wasn't... sanctioned. So when it came to light, my loyalty was questioned, and I was ordered to kill him. It was a test.
Sarah Ross: What did you do?
Victoria: I put three bullets in his chest.
Frank gets Ivan to lend a hand by asking him for a favour which he finds irresistible, being as they are old rivals and in a previous time before retirement they would easily have killed one another without batting an eyelid. So you can imagine the fun and games that came about with this union.
William Dreyfus and Ernest Borgnine make an appearance too and their characters spice things up a little,which make this film one of the best I have seen in a while. (Touches of James Bond creep in here).
The DVD was released on 14Th February2011. I have watched this three times so far and every time there is something else I notice that is different about it, which makes this a lovely fun and engaging film to watch.
I really enjoyed watching it with my family and as we are all adults had no worries about that. We all laughed and got really excited when the action hit and like most Bruce Willis type of films there was plenty of action to be had. Loved it and loved the characters each and everyone so I think this film is going to find itself on our most watched list at home. Fun entertaining and witty jam packed full of action explosions and the usual mayhem. Brilliant.
- Story -
Frank moses is a retired black-ops agent, one of the best in the country and he now lives a rather boring life, his only real enjoyment being when he calls the government pension phoneline as he's able to get in touch with his case worker, Sarah, there. However, his rather boring life is suddenly interrupted as he becomes targeted by an assassin and he has to track down his old team of equally retired colleagues in an effort to escape from the assassins deadly grasp and uncover their identity. What the assassins don't realise, however, is that this team of retired ex-agents are actually classified as being RED - Retired and Extremely Dangerous. Who is it that's targetting them and will they get away with it? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This movie provides what I would call some real comical action-packed escapism, with exaggerated gunfight scenes that I thought were rather unrealistic, not from a plotline point of view but in as much as, for example, Helen Mirrens character Victoria who is shot in the chest at one point yet she still walks around as if little had happened (as in control as ever).
I thought that the special effects were very good, there are plenty of explosions and some chase scenes and it was certainly entertaining and diverting if nothing else. The story is perhaps a bit daft but its also quite fun and so it makes for a decent 'quick flick' to pop on if your looking for something to get a laugh out of and to distract you from whatever may be going on, for a while or so. The comedy is of course mainly from the storyline and the odd bit of a fairly witty dialogue rather than any real punchlines as such.
I'd say that Willis' character, Frank Moses, may put some people off being that he's attracted to a much younger lady who he has to protect(!) - aspects like that are a little cheesy but then that's probably to be expected and I'd imagine that this is a movie that men may enjoy and get more of a 'kick out of' than perhaps women (not to over-generalise but at a guess), though I do enjoy a well made action movie. I was actually surprised at first when I checked the DVD sleeve to see that this movie had been given a '12' rating, given the amount of shooting and violence indicated throughout the movie - however, thinking about it there's little in the way of graphic detail, again I can refer back to that scene with Victoria mentioned earlier, you certainly don't see much blood, there's barely any gore or blood and guts. Given that, I'd presume that this movie was made with teens in mind and again I'd make a guess that teenage boys would probably quite enjoy this. However, its up to you to decide whether its a good idea to have such movies which seem to show people easily surviving so much gunfire and so on - if I were a parent I may be a little concerned about particularly young teens sub-consciously taking away a false feeling that they can be like these people, somewhat invincible or whatever but yet again, I'm likely over-thinking it just a bit(!).
I'd also add that the cast is probably the main reason most people would be keen on seeing this movie, featuring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman. As far as the cast is concerned, you can tell that they had fun shooting (pardon the slight pun) the movie, especially Helen Mirren - it was quite fun to see her playing a different role, I have a feeling she may have been the most keen on her role perhaps!. The performances are all pretty good, though Willis' was perhaps a little blase/slightly wooden *perhaps* - I don't normally have an issue with him and to be honest it may be more to do with the plot, it didn't majorly put me off the film though.
Again story wise, the ending, just before the credits, is really quite daft though should (hopefully) make you laugh - it does make you wonder though, how do these (clearly ficticious) people do it? it is rather silly but nonetheless quite amusing somehow. Also story wise, I felt a little confused by the exact details as the plot built up, it moved fairly fast (which I'd probably prefer over those movies that lag right in the middle making you want to shout at your TV - get on with it already!) and there are quite a few different characters involved, each with their own motivations and background obviously, so it got a little confusing at points but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the movie overall really, even if you watch just for the action scenes and to see the a-list cast, that's enough to entertain, so its not a big deal.
All in all, this is a good bit of fun, as much as the story is a bit daft, the characters make it, overall, quite entertaining and the special effects back it up. This movie will likely appeal to younger adults or those who are young at heart and enjoy a light hearted story with a good amount of gunfights and explosions.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Yes I'd recommend it, its good for a laugh and is diverting enough, plus it features a decent cast, so I would say its worth a watch. Whether it stands up for multiple viewings I'm not sure, though I did feel that I got a little lost as far as the characters backgrounds was concerned and I may feel tempted to re-watch it at a later date when I might gain more from it then, so I can't say it doesn't entirely stand up to multiple viewings.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for all rates and comments. This review is also posted on Ciao UK under the same username.
This film is kinda a comedy action film, about retired CIA, MI5 and KGB operatives being targeted by hit squads (i wont give the reason as it ruins the plot, but to be honest with you the ending doesn't make a whole lot of sense as to why they were actually hunted down in the first place).
Mosely (bruce willis) is some sort of unstoppable CIA agent who grew old. When an attack squad attacks his house, he must escape, and reforms his CIA crew, including a russian spy, a british lady spy, and 2 more american spys, one being morgan freeman, and the other being a crazy guy who was experimented on using LSD (just don't talk about satellites to him).
Anyway, this film is quite a good film to watch when you just want what i called a mind numbing session, the kinda film where you can watch it half asleep. This films plot is not really all that, its more about just mindless explosions and that sort of thing. Also i find that the scenes seem to be really short, and you sometimes find yourself fighting to keep up with the plot sometimes (some scenes just don't really add anything to the plot).
There are some funny bits, my favourites being from the LSD guy, such as the fact he is so paranoid (yet is mostly correct), and also does really crazy thing.
However for some reason i couldnt "love" this film. Sure it was an ok film, but nothing more than that. It was lacking something, and i think it was more to do with the plot than anything else. Although i found the idea of what retired spies etc do with their spare time very thought provoking. That said though, the characters become very likeable over the course of the film.
Overall, this is an ok film, nothing special, and not a must see, but its ok, and for that i give it 3/5 stars. I would wait to watch it free on tv, or something like that, and not get the dvd, as its not really a film you can watch more than once.
**FILM ONLY REVIEW**
Based on a relatively obscure miniseries by DC Comics, RED tells the story of a group of retired CIA agents considered to be code RED, which means Retired: Extremely Dangerous. Having moved on from their exciting lives, the former spies have settled into more mundane existences until a conspiracy from their past threatens to drag them back into the world of espionage and danger.
Bruce Willis stars as the lead character, Frank Moses, and spends most of the film perfecting that half-smile stare that he seems to use for his more recent action movies. It evokes a sense of 'too cool for school' and almost belies a sense of boredom of having to star in yet another action hero role. He doesn't seem to stretch himself too much in the role and aside from a few witty one-liners, he actually seems very distant from the film - almost as if nothing happening on-screen fazes him.
His co-stars, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich seem to be more invested in the film, although with the exception of John Malkovich, none of them seem overly exerting themselves in playing their characters. Malkovich's turn as the paranoid, eccentric former-spy, Marvin, was a highlight of the film and brought an added sense of fun to the surprisingly light-hearted thriller.
I also enjoyed Karl Urban's role as the main antagonist and look forward to seeing him appear in more films in the future. The sequence with him and Bruce Willis having an extended fight scene was effectively brutal and showcased both actors very well, although i'd imagine most of the violent scenes were done by stunt-men rather than the actors themselves. The female lead, Mary-Louise Parker, was also quite enjoyable as the bewildered civilian who is dragged into the conspiracy of these aged-CIA agents and those trying to kill them. I didn't think there wasn't that much chemistry between her and Willis though, which made you wonder why she continued to follow him into dangerous circumstances again and again.
The film itself seemed to plod along with a fairly standard plot, which seemed to service merely as a device to get them to visit a myraid of American states, complete with a rather nice postcard themed animation sequence for each new location they visit. The set-pieces are more livelier than the plot, especially the Ocean's Eleven-esque sequence towards the end when the gang attempt to kidnap a high-value target from underneath the government's nose, putting their skills as secret agents to the test.
I quite liked the idea of an "aged A-Team", as it were, but I don't think there was enough charm to this movie and some of the potential of having retired CIA agents was lost. I think a far more interesting opportunity would have been to have cast older action stars against the younger generation and play on the casting a bit more, similar to how Sylvester Stallone cast his actors for The Expendables, which shares a similar theme of aged mercernaries struggling against the modern world, but it plays upon the stereotypical action movie tropes a lot more than RED does.
This Review also appears on Amazon & Ciao under the same username.
With action films flying out at us from all different directions, a bit of tongue in cheek action from some older generation actors is quite welcome. Bruce Willis heads up an older cast in this action tale where a team of ex CIA agents is targeted for no apparent reason. Heading off with his girlfriend (Mary Louise Parker) he rounds up his old crew consisting of Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and an excellently paranoid John Malkovich, and together they try and thwart and evade their attackers while finding out the truth behind why there is interest in them after so many years.
The plot really isn't that important here, although it's worth noting that it's one of the more believable ones of recent action thrillers that have anything to do with the CIA or the FBI. There's a good mix of conspiracy, government secrets, military tactics and age old conflicts that merely help these seasoned actors get themselves into a position where they can overact their way through the film and put smiles on the faces of those watching.
Willis has mastered the art of smiling without moving a muscle on his face, and the smart comedy turns he is capable of help him out here as the lead character of Frank Moses. He is an excellent combat veteran, with hand to hand combat tested in the first few scenes. Parker as his girlfriend Sarah is just as funny, and after the initial rabbit in headlights act, she gets used to it and goes with the flow. Morgan Freeman's charming and soothing voice belies a body that just doesn't move as fast as it used to, but his jovial nature as Joe Matheson is well placed. Helen Mirren has that poise and grace that meant she was a shoe in for playing the Queen a few years ago, but she slots into an action role very easily indeed, her poshness hiding an ease for action that is impressive. Karl Urban is a solid choice for their chaser, kept in the dark as to the real truth and reasons behind it all but pursuing nonetheless and relentlessly so. The actor knows his place and gives a solid performance without making himself look silly by trying to match the veterans he's up against.
However, the show is stolen by John Malkovich's performance of a paranoid Marvin Boggs, paranoid about gadgets, paranoid about being followed, paranoid about trusting his friends, paranoid about living in a house, paranoid about, well.......everything. The actor has a constantly startled and furtive look about him that just makes you shake your head in amazement. I was impressed and he made me laugh. His monotone style voice also matches this character perfectly. Loved it. But combined with everyone else it's even better, and this former team reunite one more time to thwart an enemy with the full force of the US government behind them. The action is high octane for at least the first two thirds of the film, and it's only once the majority of the plot has been revealed and all the characters have had a turn at shining that the plot starts to wind down. There is a period of about 15 minutes where I felt it needed to pick things up again, and as the ending came, I felt I was definitely ready for it, but generally the pitch of the film was spot on and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Director Robert Schwentke gives us a clever hour and a half with a good cast who perform excellently. The direction certainly allows the cast to shine, and shows deference from the man in charge to those who have been top names in the business in their prime. I thought this showed in the fun the cast seem to be having, with twinkles in their eyes for the majority of the film. There's a solid upbeat soundtrack to go with things and a decent amount of special effects budget without things going over the top and getting out of hand. Overall, a thoroughly entertaining action film I'd happily watch again and recommend heartily.
Star - Bruce Willis
Genre - Action/comedy
Nomination - Golden Globe
One of the most bizarre recognitions in this year's big award ceremonies would have to be a Golden Globe Best Film nomination for 'Red'. Not because it's a poor movie or anything but because it's well and truly in that twisty tongue-in-cheek action genre that rarely gets any attention (if you don't count the tiresome Lord of the Rings trilogy), but when done well can be extremely entertaining, as this is. A clue why can be found on the Internet Movie Database, the film polling really well with women of all ages, surprisingly best ranked with females over the age of 45 at an impressive 7.8 out of 10, probably down to the always macho sexy Bruce Willis (now 56), his best action movie for a long time. Those numbers mean this is hugely commercial format, a boy's action movie model that appeals to the girls, the Holy Grail in Hollywood, getting the cast just right the key. I think that's why it was nominated, a format sure to be aped aplenty now. 'Spies Like Us', this isn't! The males over 45 gave it just 7.2 though; sexy Helen Mirren not doing it for the middle-aged guys with slightly less hair than Willis that like their high kicking girls with guns. I disagree. Mirren, for me, is still by far the horniest old bird on the cinema screen today.
Willis and Mirren aside this is star packed stuff, not quite 'The Expendables' but an eclectic and mature action cast all the same, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Brian Cox (not the space one) and Richard Dreyfuss also on board, for Cox his second movie called 'Red' in three years, and both rather good.
Why most of that cast are the wrong side of fifty is the good guys are all retired CIA agents, trying to deal with retirement, sitting at home with no one to kill or guns to polish, the acronym 'R.E.D. standing for Retired Extremely Dangerous. The film has comic book heritage but I'm not up on all that, other than it was the first DC Comic book not to be made by Warner Brothers. But that ober cast and action is cool and impressive enough and so reason enough for this to grab your attention in the rental stores this weekend, especially the girls.
Bruce Willis ... Frank Moses
Mary-Louise Parker ... Sarah Ross
John Malkovich ... Marvin Boggs
Helen Mirren ... Victoria
Karl Urban ... William Cooper
Morgan Freeman ... Joe Matheson
Rebecca Pidgeon ... Cynthia Wilkes
Brian Cox ... Ivan Simanov
Richard Dreyfuss ... Alexander Dunning
Newly retired CIA agent Frank Moss has nothing better to do with his time than make up excuses to call the pension call-centre to chat up a telesales girl he has a crush on, Cynthia Wilkes (Rebecca Pidgeon) quite keen on his sexy gruff voice in return, the conversations the best part of their boring days. But when Moss and other members of his old black ops team are flagged up for another kind of termination, poor old Cynthia (Pidgeon) is now a 'loose end' by association and has to go as collateral, resulting in Moss having to break into her house and rescue her, an uncomfortable introduction.
Others are threatened as the web of intrigue widens, Frank catching up with old friends to keep them alive and pull resources, his assailants sophisticated and extremely armed. Ex agent Joe (Morgan Freeman) is rotting away in an old folks home and so glad of the action and visit from Frank, whilst Boggs (John Malkovich) is a paranoid survivalist hiding out in the Florida Everglades and so quickly on board as he was right all along, a sexy oldie MI6 assassin (Mirren) and a retired KGB general (Brian Cox) also pulling for Moss. Together they must team up and find out who wants them dead so they can at least live out their boring retirement, up and coming hot shot black ops agent Cooper (Karl Urban) the number one suspect as the man who is going to retire them. But it's never that simple in twisty Hollywood spy thrillers...
This is great fun, a fast paced shoot em up as slick and polished as a race car. And enjoy the ride you do, a film that goes down like a cold beer after a long summer's day. It touch and feels every cent of its $58 million dollar budget and performed well enough to take double that back in the box-office, giving the people what they want, a high thrills action comedy with likeable stars and plenty of twists. It's not quite as smart as its portrayed so to earn that bizarre Golden Globe nomination but it's an above average screwball spy comedy that doesn't resort to cliché to get cheap laughs, Malkovich particular enjoying himself with the serious acting gloves off and the comedy boxing gloves on, 'proper' actors doing knockabout fun always worth a rent when done well, 'Red' everything the tiresome Coen Brothers movie 'Burn After Reading' should have been.
The Sun - "Expendable? Perhaps. Better RED than dead? Most definitely"
The Hollywood Reporter - "If the prospect of seeing Dame Helen letting rip with a ginormous machine gun while dressed to the nines tickles your fancy, give the film a go"
CNN Film Blog - "While it's a movie richly endowed with big names, you come away imbued with the happy thought that they all left their egos at home"
The Independent - "A fast, funny, smart, adult-oriented action-comedy that generates precisely the kind of giddy vibe The Expendables"
The LA Times - "RED offers cheap thrills and a few nice gags. It could have been more than that, but the appetite for this stuff is insatiable".
= = = = Special Features = = = =
Something different here and not the usual cast & crew but a retired CIA operative giving his angle on things.
*Trivia Track Option*
You can have trivia text'd up during the film.
*Cast & Crew*
Behind the scenes stuff.
Short documentary news piece on what the CIA got up to in the old days.
Imdb.com - 7.1/10.0 (44,637 votes)
Metacritic.com - 61% of film critics liked it (68% of users)
Rottentomatos.com - 71% of film critics liked it (71% of users)
Red it the morden day equivalent of the great 80's action movies.
All action-comedys with a small plot that still manage to be great.
Frank (Bruce Willis) an ex C.I.A agent living his life in boring retirement in a leafy suburb were nothing exciting ever happens gets his only joy in life from his conversations with Sarah (Mary-Louis Parker) a bored and lonely government pension processor whom he calls under the pretense that his checks arent arriving just so he can speak to her.
He suddenly finds his life turned up when his home is attcked by government officials in full stormtrooper atire looking to retire frank permanently.
When he is finished with them he realises that they will go after sarah as he has called her so many times and sets out to save her, and the get in touch with his old unit to find out why they are all suddenly RED (retired-extremely-dangerous) LISTED.
What follows is a highly entertaining 80's styled comedy action movie that needs to be seen.
with and unbelivable cast including morgan freeman, john malkovich, helen mirren, richard dreyfuss, and the brilliant brian cox.
Malkovich giving an exceptional part as the extremely paranoid ex-agent who never goes anywere without his pink fluffy stuffed gun holder.
I remember this film being advertised quite a bit when it was in the cinema, but I never got round to seeing it. Then I friend lent it to me not long ago, so I sat down and watched armed with some ice cream.
Overall it was a good action based film. Then again with a cast of Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren what else do you expect? The film was easy to follow, and required little concentration.
The film opens with Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) flirting with a young female called Sarah, who works in some pension sector. The action itself doesn't occur for a short while, but when it does Bruce Willis produces his usual sit-up and take notice moves. After the usual fight and a large explosion, Frank proceeds to 'kidnap' Sarah and get his old gang back together, and find out why they're being targeted.
The film consists of a number of small twists, a little sad moment with Freeman's character, and quite a lot of humour. The relationship between Frank and Sarah is also developed and while slightly unconventional, it's equally convincing.
One main high light I found in this film was not Willis's role but Malkovichs'. It was funny to watch him play the slightly crazy and unhinged character of Marvin Boggs, rather than the cruel villain I've seen him as in Con Air. Of course certain elements such as his cursing, reminded me of his previous role in that film, but this just made his character more comical.
However I did find Freeman and Mirren's characters rather boring and rather mundane, in comparison to their previous film appearances.
On the whole it was decent film that whilst isn't likely to make it to the history books, can be watched a few times.
Film Only Review:
I rented this movie online from Blinkbox because it was their bestselling rental and had been rated 4 1/2 stars out of 5 by those Blinkbox users who had watched it. The film is a 2010 action comedy starring Bruce Willis in the lead with support from John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren.
Willis plays Frank Moses, a seemingly normal oldish guy living in a Desperate Housewives kind of suburbia. His life seems to consist of meandering around the dull neighbourhood and telephoning an equally bored lady at the Pension processing unit, to whom he has fallen in love with purely through talking to over the telephone. The truth about Frank's life is soon exposed when he is suddenly attacked by a gang of masked assassins. Frank is then revealed to be a retired spy whose life, and the lives of those he cares about, is in grave danger. Frank then embarks on a dangerous mission to quash the bad guys with a little help from his old retired spy pals (Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren).
I was really looking forward to this movie as it has such a stellar cast that I imagined it must be fabulous. Willis is a bit unbelievable as a creaky old man pensioner in the lead role but the romantic relationship with the female lead, Mary-Louise Parker who plays Sarah, is at first cute and funny. Despite Frank's impressive career history they both come across as a couple of drippy losers and their interplay is amusing. However, Parker is a competent comedy actress but I've seen her play this part a dozen times already - a bit ditsy, a bit cooky but supposedly oh so sweet and amusing. Infact, I'd call her slightly iriitating and think she overdoes it in an attempt to milk the comedy out of a script that just isn't funny enough for her to play. I also think she was type-cast here and perhaps it would have been more interesting to see a fresher actress in the part, rather than someone who has the playing of this dippy character type down to an art.
However, in complete contrast to this I loved seeing John Malkovich step out of his 'zone' to play the unstable Marvin Boggs. He actually reminded me a little of Christopher Lloyd's 'Doc' in the 'Back To The Future' trilogy as he plays the Boggs character as if he is a genius madman. Malkovich is laugh out loud funny and is by far the most interesting and hardworking actor in the film. Morgan Freeman, on the other hand, is simply sleep inducing and there doesn't seem enough for his character to do. It's almost like he's just in the movie to be Morgan Freeman! Equally, I found Helen Mirren to be quite understated in the role. Her character, Victoria, comes across as an extremely uninteresting old woman. The so-called friendship between the four also seems non-existant to me - any playful comraderie that might have made the on-screen action watchable is just not there.
Within the first half hour of the film I was completely lost as to what was going on, who the bad guys were and what the whole point of the chase was. The explanation gets lost in scene after scene of slick shoot outs and car chases. If you like well executed fight sequences then you won't be dissapointed as there are plenty to be had with all cast memebers getting their turn to kick-ass. Eventually, however, I realised I did not really care who was chasing Frank and Sarah especially since the main baddie involved is just a blank slate of a character. Karl Urban is neither funny or scary and simply infiltrates each scene with a fist and a gun like a thoughtless robot, reading lines from a script that are not clever or interesting. Later we are asked to invest in Urban's storyline as if he plays a fully formed character rather than just a type and I felt it was a ridiculous thing to ask of a viewer.
When I reached three quarters of the way through this movie I literally felt like I was being tortured and did not want to watch the rest. I imagine that the Oscar winning actors involved in making this movie had a ball with their fellow thespians and really weren't concerned how good or how bad this movie would actually be, since their names on the billboard would be enough to ensure it would be a massive bestseller. I have to say that I haven't been as bored and annoyed whilst watching a film in a long, long time. I would not recommend this film to anyone although I imagine fans of the big names in the movie will probably get a kick out of watching their heroes physical journey through the stunt sequences regardless of how terrible the plot and script is. My overall thought is that the movie is just not funny enough. I think that it is assumed audiences will find the prospect of such revered and dramatic actors like Mirren, Freeman and Malkovich as retired spies with supersonic ninja skills entertaining enough to carry the whole film but that just doesn't work for me.
Check out the official site to view the trailer before you decide to splurge on the DVD:
I had no clue what this movie was about when I first heard of it, but after seeing the trailer I just had to see it. It is based on a comic book series with the same name. It involves 4 retired black ops agents and a customer service agent who works for a pension company. They are being hunted down by the CIA for reasons unknown, but they intend to find out one way or the other.
The cast alone makes the film worth watching, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich star with the likes of Karl Urban and Brian Cox starring alongside. The acting is top notch and just makes the movie a joy to watch. It's fast paced and funny with plenty of action in it to keep you awake. The storyline is well thought out and has a few surprises in store for you. You can't ask for more from an action movie. You will never look at a pensioner the same way again
* Film Only*
I went along to see RED the other day because I have been admiring the posters advertising the film for days now. No, seriously, I quite like a bit of Bruce Willis and seeing that he is the same age as me I thought I would go and see just how well he is bearing up.
His latest film is down as an action movie but I'm not so sure it is - the beginning and end are not what I expected and a little strange and very silly particularly the ending. The start of the film is more like a romantic comedy and after the first ten minutes I was a bit worried and thought the film was going to be naff. However, there is a point to the mixed genres and once the film got going it was rather appealing.
First of all we are introduced to Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) who is retired and seems a bit lonely. He lives in Cleveland in a suburban area where he spends most of his time doing housework and keeping fit by exercising. You could say his life is rather dull and the only ray of sunshine to brighten up his hum-drum existence is his friendship with Sarah (Marie-Louise Parker). This is a long distance relationship due to the fact that Sarah lives and works in Kansas City. She is employed by the Department of Revenue and the reason Frank keeps in touch so regularly is that he has to inform her that his pension cheques haven't turned up. This is a bit of a fib as he has received them but he tears them into shreds. This is just an excuse so he can have long conversations with his lady friend about travelling and trashy books they have both read. It's all a bit slushy if you get my drift.
Suddenly we are in Frank's home in the middle of the night with a bunch of guys with machine guns blowing the place to smithereens. What does Frank do? Tidy up the mess and get rid of the assassins with a super cool efficiency - just like you do when you are Bruce Willis, and an ex Black ops CIA agent using the moniker RED. And red isn't the colour of his eyes after a late night session - it stands for Retired and Extremely Dangerous.
You'd think the guy could have some peace in his retirement but it's not to be - but why are they trying to kill Frank? Is it something to do with his inscrutable past or to do with his phone conversations with Sarah? He thinks it is to do with the phone conversations and suddenly takes it upon himself to quickly travel cross country to kidnap Sarah so he can protect her but at the same time he is convinced he can get to the bottom of the dodgy conspiracy that has made him a target. Frank unites with old friends and work buddies like his kind friend, Joe (Morgan Freeman), reclusive nutter, Marvin (John Malkovich) and turned murderer Martha -Stewart Victoria (Helen Mirren). Meanwhile William Cooper (Karl Urban) a tough and callous agent, has orders and is in the process of trying to take Frank down any way he can.
If you think you are going to see a clever and complicated political thriller then you will be disappointed. The clever, conspiracy hardly exists - it is the weakest part of the film and what does exist is only there to keep the movement of the players moving. It's all very logical and easy to understand - where one clue leads to the following scene introducing the next character, action scene and disclosure. Nothing new here - very similar to the rest of the thrillers and action movies that have been bombarding movie screens of late.
There are at least two interesting twists but if I'm honest it's hard to get worked up about a revisited ominous plot that might involve corruption of some kind at the highest levels of the United States Government. Yes, you've got it - we've seen it all before a hundred times.
However, Robert Schwentke's (Time Traveller's Wife, Flightplan) film balances its over used plot with a frisky, almost cheerful tone that owes much to the superficial idea of retired folks capable of murder and slaughter when pushed over the edge. Those of you familiar with DC comics may recognise the story line which is loosely based on Warren Ellis' graphic mini series which is illustrated by Cully Hammer. I use the phrase 'loosely based' but really, only the title and basic premise are the same. The original was a dark revenge story on the same lines as the Bronson classic, 'Deathwish' but this director has given RED a lighter outlook, not exactly an action film, more a comedy with some action, a few laughs, a couple of thrills and a lot of heart.
What really makes the film acceptable is the cast. Okay, I know they are all getting on in years and they are all typecasted. Yes, afraid so - we have Mr Willis as the handsome, cold blooded murderer with a twinkle in his eye and a heart filled with warmth, Morgan Freeman, the sophisticated and well mannered old guy, John Malkovich, the nutter and cynic, and Helen Mirren as the retired person from over the pond. All the three mentioned guys are cool to watch and Mirren just annoys me to death so not a lot to say about her. This over use of a clipped British speaking character does my head in. Moving on - it is good to see the band of four play off loveable favourites like Richard Dreyfus, Brian Cox, Ernest Borgnine and Julian McMahon to name just a few. I know these parts are only cameo roles but it moves the film along nicely seeing all these well-known faces.
Summing up time - RED was pleasurable to watch - it isn't a great film at all. As for the action well most of it is CGI enhanced and boring, mainly because it is so repetitive. There are funny moments but the comedy isn't intelligent - it is cheap and ridiculous like when nutty Malkovich (who I like very much) carries a stuffed pig around (worthy of Monty Python) but hey, what the hell it gets a laugh or two. Who knows - if the stunts had been more spectacular and the script was a bit more on the ball then the film might have turned out exceptional but as it stands it's a humorous spin on the spy thriller with a cast of cute oldies apart from Helen Mirren and very enjoyable to watch. And how does Senor Willis look - not bad - shame about his hair loss but then he never did have much. I still think I look younger and I definitely have more hair!. :-)
Recommended but don't go to the cinema - rent it on DVD is my advice.
What is it with old people and guns? Are they giving them out free with every bus pass these days? After The Expendables and now RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous) it would appear so. Here's the latest entry in the new OAP action genre.
Retired CIA agent Frank Moses is trying to settle into retired life, a lonely existence brightened only by long-distance telephone flirting with Sarah from the Pensions Agency. When the CIA decides he is a threat to national security and tries to kill him, Frank goes on the run with a reluctant Sarah, teaming up with some other old agents along the way.
Forget the dumb, unlikely plot; forget the fact that The Expendables (unsuccessfully) tried to create the oldie actioner; R.E.D gets it right. Albeit in a slightly uneven fashion, this is what I hoped The Expendables would be - some great action sequences combined with an ironic, knowing sense of humour, featuring some great actors. R.E.D. is the film The Expendables should have been.
There's no doubt where the appeal of this film lies: the cast. It's an unlikely combination of talent featuring former action heroes, serious Ac-Tors and a smattering of famous film faces. Amongst the partaking pensioners are Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss.
This is certainly a curious collection of individuals to throw together in one film - particularly when the appeal of RED rests almost exclusively on its casting. Yet, it's a gamble that pays off. All the actors are clearly switched to FUN Mode and having a whale of a time in roles which give them tremendous freedom and the ability to play off against their previous on-screen or public persona. Some are playing older (possibly) wiser versions of previous roles, others are playing against type; all are having a good laugh and enjoying themselves immensely, which rubs off onto the viewer. There's a real spark, a genuine chemistry between the characters and actors that comes across in their banter, and that proves infectious, making for a fun caper.
This is Bruce Willis at his most ironic, smirking best. There might be less hair than in the Die Hard days, but he's still got what it takes when it comes to cutting people down with a withering remark, a well-placed bullet or, ideally, both. Willis is clearly having a field day, revisiting his former tough guy persona (which he still does scarily well), whilst mixing it with a greater sense of irony. This is John McLean on his day off. The Willis twinkle is back in the eye like it's never been away and he oozes that old charisma.
John Malkovich is similarly having a blast, taking hammy acting to a whole new level in his role as the paranoid Marvin. Utterly insane, completely paranoid, yet still a massively effective "asset" in the field, Malkovich is clearly relishing the opportunity to just let himself go. His constant gurning, over the top delivery and shouty dialogue could have destroyed the film; instead it makes it. This is what "Howling" Mad Murdoch in the A Team reboot should have been, but wasn't!
Brian Cox and Helen Mirren also turn in lively performances as ex-spies Ivan Simonov and Victoria, perfectly capturing the spark between their characters. Completing The Pensionables is Morgan Freeman, who is slightly disappointing mainly because he has relatively little screen time by comparison and features in little more than an extended cameo.
It's the young whippersnappers of the cast - notably Mary Louise Parker as Sarah and Karl Urban as CIA Agent William Cooper - who struggle to make an impression. In fairness, both are stuck in pretty thankless roles. Sarah is the simpering, hopeless romantic who suddenly finds herself unwillingly in the thick of the action (how many times have we seen that before?) There are a few vague attempts to give her something to do, but most of the time she is simply there to simper/fall over/get left behind/be rescued/look perplexed/have the plot explained to her etc. Her entire part could have easily have been cut from the whole film and it would not have made any difference at all.
Similarly, Karl Urban is hampered by the film's need for a straight guy to play off against the smirking, gurning, over-acting of the older cast members. Poor old Urban is given little to do except run around constantly being outwitted (and beaten up) by the old guard. He does his best, but is constrained by a dull, predictable character that is missing out on all the fun going on around him.
Still, RED successfully combines action with pensioner-based humour. Some of the set-pieces, though not innovative are impressive and the gun battles and action sequences work well. A shoot out at an airport in particular manages to be both exciting and amusing. They might not be as fast-paced or stunt heavy as some of the set-pieces we've seen in other films recently, but they are still pretty satisfying, with lots of bullets and pretty explosions.
Not everything works - hence the (slightly mean) 3 stars. The script is somewhat uneven. RED takes quite a while to get going and some of the early sequences were rather dull. Certainly, the pace picks up noticeably once the gang is back together, although even then there were still sequences which dragged a little. Like so many modern films, it could also have done with being shorter - even just 10-15 minutes off the run time would have made for a tighter more satisfying experience, although this reflects the fact that the script was trying to give each of the stars roughly the same amount of screen time.
Many of film's remaining faults can be laid at the hands of the Director. This is a film which needed an understated, unobtrusive directorial style, so that the charisma and banter of its stars could be the main focus. Unfortunately, Robert Schwentke wants to join in the fun and some of his visual flourishes are misplaced. There are a couple of unnecessary slo-mos, whilst his "picture postcard" method of introducing the location for the current scene is slightly hackneyed and overused.
There have been two hyped but disappointing action films this year: The Expendables and The A Team. Both seemed to promise a potent cocktail of impressive action sequences and strong cast mixed with a sense of fun and a tongue-in-cheek humour. Neither got it. The Expendables was too serious, the A Team struggled to find the right balance between the campness of the TV series and the serious tone of an action movie. RED, on the other hand, hits that particular nail bang on the head It might be a disposable piece of entertainment, but it's a fun way to pass a couple of hours.
Director: Robert Schwentke
Running time: approx. 111 minutes
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