Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movie Review: "Red"

Retired and Extremely Dangerous (R.E.D.), that is the acronym for Red, the story of retired CIA agents being hunted down by the agency because of the secrets that they know. As is usual with these espionage flicks, there are twists, there are turns, but this movie takes the usual tropes of a Jack Ryan-Tom Clancy movie and makes it all funny.

In this cartoonish action flick, Bruce Willis plays retired CIA agent, Frank Moses, who has fallen in love with the woman over the telephone line in charge of his government pension, Sarah (played by Mary-Louise Parker). But when CIA agents come knocking on Frank's door, Frank has no choice but to run and kidnap his love, who he has never seen. With Sarah at his side, Frank reassembles his old unit, consisting of vet actors like Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren.

The jokes fly between these veteran actors with so much ease, you would think that these consumate professionals have been working together all their lives, and that is the mark of a truly magnificent actor. John Malkovich gives probably the most memorable turn as a retiree who is constantly paranoid that the government is watching him, but Helen Mirren isn't far behind with her trigger happy, Grandmommy James Bond seductress, persona. I thought actor Karl Urban, playing the agent hunting R.E.D. down, was a nice foil to Bruce Willis's character, but Morgan Freeman actually had the most forgettable role in the whole movie, dying halfway through. While the movie has some missed opportunities in terms of exploring the proposed concepts of not having a life or love when part of the CIA, these few moments of proposal are never really explored which could have made this movie a more memorable romp.

Director Robert Schwentke directs the action sequences with a visual flare that many directors seem to lack when working in this genre, but the story is often vague. Why R.E.D. is being hunted by the CIA is never explained in full. We know all of this stuff they're fighting for means something to these characters, but we, as the audience, are clueless as to why. While the overall ride gives you just enough information to warrant you wanting to sit through to the next action sequence, this movie could have been so much more had this story been made clearer. Regardless, the movie is an enjoyable action flick with some slick visuals and a fair few laughs to warrant the time.

I give Red a C+!

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