RED: Retired, Extremely Dangerous
So the great action stars of my childhood are all getting old. In fact, they’re old enough to be my parents.
Age has taken its toll on Mel Gibson (I suppose in more ways than one), Arnold is busy being a real-life politician, Kurt Russell has fallen off the Hollywood radar, Harrison Ford (bless his heart) has tried not to let go but he just doesn’t pack the same punch as as a young Indie; and of course, as you probably know, age simply doesn’t apply to Chuck Norris.
However, some of our great action stars aren’t quite finished: Sylvester Stallone is still trucking it at the age of 64, Jackie Chan hasn’t given up yet, and right there next to Chuck Norris is Sean Connery who also seems to age in reverse.
And finally, Bruce Willis is still out there. I didn’t see Surrogates, which was supposed to be his action flick for last year – but I heard it sucked. So when I saw the previews for RED, I wondered if it’d be any good or if it was just going to prove that he was on his way out.
RED is a story based on a DC comic book. Here’s the premise: you’ve got four retired CIA agents, who aren’t quite able to make the transition into life as a retiree. So, as is expected, these old dogs return to old tricks.
The catalyst is a hit list bearing all of their names. First up is Frank Moses, played by Willis; then we meet Joe in his retirement home, played by Morgan Freeman; next up is Marvin, played to hilarious perfection by John Malkovich; and finally, Helen Mirren as Victoria.
In my opinion, Victoria came in a bit too late in the film. Mirren’s saucy wit makes the character seem both classy and crude at once. This woman likes to kill, but she’s very much like a rich grandmother at the same time.
John Malkovich was, simply put, hilarious. His character is both insane and paranoid. He was a blast.
And of course you can’t have an action film without a damsel in some sort of distress. In this case, we’ve got Mary-Louise Parker (who I’ve never seen in anything else) as Sarah, an innocent woman that Moses drags into this mess very much against her will (at first).
She reads entirely too many spy-romance novels. As a result, she ends up viewing her involvement with these four ex-CIA agents with far too much excitement. Her careless one-liners and her facial expressions are very funny and well-timed.
And the last character I’ll mention is the antagonist of the film: CIA Agent, William Cooper, who has been hired to “deal with” Moses and his gang. This character is played by Karl Urban, who I always love to watch. He has so much versatility as an actor. This character is pretty much responsible for driving the movie forward – his relentless pursuit of Frank Moses prevents the film from lagging too much, thus it has a very good pacing.
Overall, this film was a lot of pure fun. It’s doesn’t have the most die-hard action (no pun intended), but it still has its fair share of explosions and whizzing bullets. Though these ex-agents are “old”, it doesn’t mean they’re dull or boring. I laughed myself silly during this film. The dialogue was excellent; full of wit and humor – and yet, realistic and natural.
This movie was definitely worth the price of the ticket. It was a great deal of fun, and I’m glad I got to see it. It might not be the most thrilling, suspenseful action movie ever – but as far as action comedy goes, it was golden in my book.
-– Stars: Four out of Five.