[Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Ellen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban]
image from collider.com
RANT: It's been awhile since I was able to get to the movie theater. Last weekend consisted of attending the New York Comic Con. I got to hang out with the "Women of Battlestar Galactica" and the cast of AMC's "The Walking Dead". And since I still was basking in the afterglow of comic geekdom, I decide to hang out at Six Flags Great Adventure for Columbus Day for the last gasps of coaster riding. It was truly a wonderful way to exit the Summer!
SYNOPSIS: Attempting to adjust to a life after a career of CIA black OPs, Frank Moses finds himself the target of government assassins. Recruiting the girl he has befriended and other retired specialists, the team head out to find out and stop their pursuers.
The marketing touts "RED" as the best action comedy of the year. Of course we all know that marketing is designed to get us to the theatre. Personally, I went to the movies because of the action star power of Bruce Willis. As a fan of Willis and his track record of action excellence, I usually go to any film that he is involved in. Even his lesser works are fun to watch. Director Robert Schwentke, known for Jodie Foster's "Flightplan" and Eric Bana's "The Time Traveler's Wife", takes the all-star cast of Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ellen Mirren and John Malkovich on a cross-country trip of guns and laughs.
Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, a retired CIA operative adjusting to life without adrenaline. Constantly calling Mary Louise Parker's Sarah at the pension office, Frank tries to strike more than a friendship with her. One night, a wetworks team attempts to assassinate Frank in his Ohio home. Frank travels to Kansas City to collect Sarah as her live is in jeapardy as a result of their phone chats. Enlisting the aid of former wetworks and black operatives Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren), Moses and his team piece together the reasons why they are being targeted for elimination. As they dig deeper, they find that the contracts are being signed by parties that may be beyond the scope of even the US government's covert branches.
Willis actually plays the straight man in this film. He proves that even though he is not in "Die Hard" prime, Bruce is ever the action hero. Meanwhile, the comedy comes easily as Willis is surrounded by the quirkiness of a deranged John Malkovich, the smooth stylings of Morgan Freeman, the naive excitement of Mary-Louise Parker, and the sexy confidence of Helen Mirren. On a side note, Mirren made me fall in love with her again with a role toting semi-automatics,
On the other side of the coin is Karl Urban's CIA agent William Cooper contracted to eliminated Moses by his superiors. Driven by blind ambition, Cooper echoes what Moses was in his career's youth. Urban plays Cooper cool and collected, a hulking presence in a "company" issued suit. Rebecca Pidgeon plays Cooper's superior Cynthia Wilkes, a ever present CIA spook.
The film is well paced in plot, action and laughs, all done up in perfect balance. The stars make the movie, but the movie stands just as tall on its other merits. The film, aside from kicking ass and causing laughs, gives us a glimpse of what adjustment to retirement can do to a person, as well as what it is like to extend past your perception of use to society. If you are a fan of any of the cast, give this flick a shot. Of course, make sure you are not on the receiving end of Helen Mirren's sniper scope!
Worth: Matinee and DVD
I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!