PLOT: A retired black-ops CIA agent named Frank Moses (Willis) sees his mundane life explode when a team of masked killers storm his pad and attempt to take him out. With a hot shot CIA Agent (Urban) on his tail and enemies at every corner; Frank reassembles his old posse of assassins and they go on to tare it up in the name of finding out why there is a price on his bald head.
REVIEW: I didn't really know what to expect from RED; a film based on Cully Hamner's and Warren Ellis's limited DC comic book of the same name; but the moment the movie opened with its flamboyantly on the move camera that eventually introduced us to our solemn hero (Bruce Willis); I at least knew it wasn't gonna be OLD DOGS with heavy artillery. The best way I can describe RED is: “fun fluff”. The storyline was nothing to go nuts about; it was serviceable at best, there to bring us from one glorious action scene to the next. And hey, I wasn't complaining too much. The physical get downs went all out when it came to retina pleasing style, blowing stuff up real good and delivering heavy fire power like it was going out of style. Ahhh...twas music to my ears. It should also be said that the Bruce Willis versus Karl Urban mano et mano fist fight was one for the books of macho. Brutal, intense and well choreographed; for a split second while devouring it, the Roddy Piper versus Keith David fist to cuffs from THEY LIVE popped in my head... just for half a second... but that in itself was a compliment.
Visually, the flick doubled down on the kinetic flavors. Zany angles, creative camera moves, groovy scene transitions (loved the onscreen postcards that communicated where we were) and enough slow motion to make John Woo proud. I expected nothing less from director Robert Schwentke (Tattoo and Flightplan); a man that knows a thing or two about making a flick roll on smooth while looking uber sleek. The all stars cast elevated the fairly thin storyline to a higher echelon as well via their charisma and amusing chemistry together. Bruce Willis was his usual underplayed yet badass self, Karl Urban owned the screen as the good-bad guy, John Malokvich was hilarious as the paranoid loon, Morgan Freeman was Morgan Freeman (great role), Mary-Louise Parker was cute and endearing while Helen Mirren stole the show as the aged, yet still sexy killer who loves to kill.
A note on Mirren if I may (not like you have a choice); I totally got off on witnessing her firing automatic weapons. Not sure why it was such an arousing sight for me. Maybe it was her good looks in light of her age? The British accent perhaps? Or maybe its because Mirren usually does period pieces? Whatever it was, I lapped it up. The bit when she fired a mammoth machine gun mounted on a turret had me grinning like a kid who finds a Hustler mag in the park. Add to that a solid supporting cast (Richard Dreyfuss was the tits as the mafia scumbag), an engaging score, a sense of humor that hit the spot, witty dialogue and a "awwww" inducing cutesy love story between Willis and Parker and you get an hour and half of easy entertainment.
What stood in the way of this flick becoming more than celluloid bon-bon was its connect the dots script. The chain of events were laced with way too many conveniences throughout and the obstacles our heroes were pitted against were always a piece of cake for them to handle. Maybe if getting from point A to B to C was harder for our motley crew of gun taunting seniors I would have felt more tension and that the stakes were higher...maybe.. but as-is I never once believed that any of them were in real trouble. And was it me or did key characters disappear for way too long during the last act? Didn't fully gel with me. Lastly, although Brian Cox complemented Mirren very well; dude needed to work on that Russian accent; it was on and off like crazy.
On the whole, RED was a akin to a roller coaster ride of action and giggles with a stellar cast on duty! Up, down, pow pow, chuckles, kaboom. As I walked out of the theatre I couldn't say that it would be a movie that I would remember past the two week mark but while I was there; I had lots of fun. I'd be up for a sequel that's for sure! If you're looking for a light watch to distract ya from the pain and suffering of mundane life; RED is that movie!