‘RED’ takes us where few action/comedies have taken us before


Red (2010)

Directed by Robert Schwentke

7/10  PG-13

If there’s something vitally wrong with “RED,” It must take a few more viewings to find. The latest from director Robert Schwentke bills itself as part action, comedy, and thriller. And it succeeds in each one. An aged, but still kick-ass, Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, an ex-CIA agent rendered RED, or “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.” Willis is surprisingly human, always difficult for a man used to playing tough guys (and don’t get me wrong, he’s tough in this, too). His retirement is filled with routine workouts, boring activities such as indoor botany, and calling a pension service worker, Sarah (the charming Mary Louise Parker), just for conversation. Soon, his life is flipped upside down, and Sarah’s life is threatened just for such frequent contact with Moses. He assembles his old pals (but naturally, Moses is the leader), all retired but always on the lookout, to discover the reason they’re wanted dead and try to fix it.

Helen Mirren, who plays the wonderfully violent Victoria, is marvelous as usual. How can you be more delightful than Helen Mirren? She is one of the greatest actresses of our time, she’s splendid. Morgan Freeman, while not as prominent as the others, is adorable (not a word often used to describe Morgan Freeman…I take that back, “Driving Miss Daisy” is another exception) as Joe, and can play the feeble old man as well as he can play anything else. John Malkovich, who plays the positively insane Marvin, is easily the most comical of the four, playing a character that, due to a government test, had once been exposed to daily doses of LSD for 11 years.


While it’s not the funniest of action/comedies, the script never ruins the story with terribly unfunny lines. It seems as if they don’t try very hard to be funny, which is fine with me. Where the comedy lacks, the action makes up for it. “RED” is full of intense action that doesn’t take itself too seriously. How can killing be made fun? Just watch the film to find out. This dream team cast is beyond flawless, easily the best cast I’ve seen in years. The four work together splendidly, and they take these four aging actors and put them back in the saddle again…not to reference the perfectly placed Aerosmith song.

With 11 Oscar nominations between them, the amazing cast helps this movie reach a place where most action/comedies have failed in recent years. While the movie isn’t going to be a classic, it is definitely still worth watching.

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