[FILM] Review: Red
Released October 28
Patience in needed when it comes to Hollywood’s latest live-action adaptation of a graphic novel; but for all its many flaws, RED often counters with a moment of such brilliant lunacy that it’s hard not to fall head over popcorn for it.
The film focuses on a group of Retired and Extremely Dangerous CIA super-agents, living out their post-espionage careers in mundane fashion. For Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), only his daily telephone flirt with Mary Louise Parker’s pension fund consultant breaks the monotony. Things change, however, when someone orders a hit on Moses and his former crew (Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich), launching them back into action – a bit older, a bit less sexy, but just as lethal.
RED hits its targets only half of the time. Supposedly-snappy one-liners don’t always succeed, an overbearing score distracts, and Robert Schwetke’s (The Time Traveller’s Wife) direction ranges from dizzying, in its action sequences, to lethargic for the moments in between.
What saves it is a choice cast who deliver entertaining performances. Malkovich plays the loon unlike any other, and the one-upmanship between Willis’s veteran and Karl Urban’s young buck (an agent assigned to catch him), gives way to some fine fight sequences. Yet it is Mirren who is truly sublime, pulling off elegance and gunplay, and stealing the movie from the lads. It is when she enters the picture that RED finally comes into its own, as its sporadic elements gel into a solid, yet underachieving action comedy.