“Red”, this year’s latest action-comedy, stars Bruce Willis, as Frank Moses, a retired CIA operative who finds himself on a mysterious hit list. He recruits his former partners: John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren to help him do some damage to whomever is threatening him. The movie has a certain smarmy, tongue-in-cheek attitude about it that leaves the audience not only giggling at the abundant humor, but also at the slick action sequences. It’s along the same lines as Guy Ritchie’s cult-classic “Snatch” in that there is a certain sense of style in it. If “cool” were a genre, “Red” would fit into the category quite nicely.
Part of the charm in the film was the interactions between the characters. The seriousness and sincerity of “Frank Moses” (Willis) was well-balanced by the constant dry sarcasm spoken by his love interest Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker.) Sidekicks in action movies have a tendency to become tiring when their silliness isn’t kept in check, and Parker did a commendable job of keeping herself in check, while still remaining humorous enough for audiences to enjoy. The other three actors brought something of their own to the table as well. Mirren uses her almost satirical coldness. Malkovich brings a hilarious spark of insanity that made him delightful onscreen, while Freeman uses his. . . age.
With an abundance of dramatic close-ups, spinning 360 shots, bullet-time, and, oddly enough, scene-transition postcards, “Red” managed to come off with just enough cheese to justify its unremarkable story and occasionally cliched dialogue. The result is a surprisingly fun and self-aware action flick that is sure to entertain. It is definitely worth a watch.
Red is directed by Robert Schwentke, and written by Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Warren Ellis, and Cully Hamner. The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, violence, and brief strong language.
Runtime: 1 hour and 51 minutes