Red

  • Year:2010
  • Rating:M
  • Cast:Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, John C. Reilly, Robert Schwentke, Bruce Willis
  • Release Date:October 28, 2010
  • Distributor:Icon
  • Running time:111 minutes
  • Film Worth:$12.50
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

The enjoyable chemistry between the stars takes centre stage in this irreverent blend of action and comedy.

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If there's anything that movies have taught us, it's not to underestimate old pros, especially when their backs are against the wall. With this in mind, director Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler's Wife) introduces the acronym RED to the cinematic vernacular, which, when applied to pensioners of a particular set of skills acquired over long careers, stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous. It is also the title of this year's second hurrah for last action heroes.

Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired CIA assassin living a hermetic life aside from the telephone relationship that he's developed with call centre operator Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). When shadowy conspirators decide that certain secrets are best kept with Frank eliminated, the soft spoken killer quickly dispatches six commandos, kidnaps Sarah for her own protection, and enlists backup from his old posse (Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich).

Adapted from Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer's comic book, RED is an irreverent blend of spy games and gunplay where chemistry and quips between the leads rightly take centre stage. There is a plot involving the Vice President (Julian McMahon), an arms dealer (Richard Dreyfuss) and an earnest next gen CIA hitman (Karl Urban), but it's all rather secondary to the high jinx.

Thrilling fistfights and shootouts are choreographed to within an inch of their life, with Willis, Urban and Mirren doing the heavy lifting in this department. Malkovich, however, gets to have the most fun as Marvin, a paranoiac former operative subjected to a few too many LSD experiments, leaving him on just the right side of crazy. All involved play to their (considerable) strengths, and the resulting understated comedy, action beats and general silliness is a strong match for the best geriatric adventures of a similar ilk. Expendable? Perhaps. Better RED than dead? Most definitely.

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