Red (2010 movie) review…

Red (2010 movie) review after the break…

Red (2010 movie) review…

When a retired secret agent, played by Bruce Willis, is unsuccessfully ambushed, it becomes his mission to find who is targeting him and why. So begins the premise of “Red,” a 2010 movie based loosely on the graphic novel of the same name. Anyone wanting a panel-by-panel recreation of the graphic novel will be sorely disappointed; I’ve never read the graphic novel so I won’t judge the movie on those merits. Instead, the movie version of “Red” is far more comedic then the graphic novel.

Willis plays Frank Moses, an older and more bald version of Matt Damon’s “Jason Bourne” super agent. Willis looks old enough to play the role of a retired agent but, still in his fifties, one can only imagine that secret agents are more tennis stars then actors in their career longevity. Being bored, Moses banters with a female case worker nine years his junior, Sarah Ross (played by Mary-Louise Parker). Both create romantic visions about the other and both eventually meet each other in short order as Moses must protect Ross from an ever-increasing horde of government agents. Moses decides to “bring the band back together,” so to speak, recruiting permanently paranoid John Malkovich, a Martha Stewart-infringing Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox brushing up on his Boris Badanov accent in an effort to stave off attacks and to get ot the bottom of them.

The film is “Ronin” with a smirk, a modern “The A-Team” if you could resurrect George Preppard and get the rest of the original cast members in the same room. It is, by no means, a perfect film – Mary-Louise Parker has little to do structurally other then to muse what the audience is thinking. Karl Urban, acting like he’ll get paid a bonus if he keeps his voice artificially low throughout the entire film, is for too long the straight arrow who is manipulated in trying to kill Willis until he sees through the deception. Morgan Freeman is so under-utilized that you wonder why he’s even in the film at all except for a paycheck (the same could be said for Richard Dreyfuss).

Yet “Red” moves fast enough and entertains enough for most of these quibbles not to surface until the finale. Malkovich, playing the demented lunatic with a heart of gold, steals most of the scenes he’s involved in. The action suffices but the movie begins to slip once the crew meets up with Richard Dreyfuss. The film becomes slightly more serious and loses the edge that made it appealing through it’s initial stages. Despite a “Mission: Impossible” finale involving the Vice President of the United States, the movie never regains it’s composure of a bunch of talented old-geezers teaching the younger generation that they’ve still got something to learn.

“Red” is a good time if you don’t think too hard about it. The movie is an even better time if you stop the movie just as Morgan Freeman gets out of a limousine. That’s unfortunate; Until then, “Red” was shaping up to be a nice little action film that bridged the gap between older viewers and youngsters. As presented, “Red” is like a typical middle-aged person – They’re still good for a short, quick burst of energy but out-of-shape for the long haul.

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