Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Brian Cox & Helen Mirren
Although based on a po-faced “graphic novel” and starring an assortment of over -the-hill actors, Red somehow manages to exceed expectations and emerge an enjoyable action romp. Director Robert Schwentke recognises the need to play fast and loose with the source material and has crafted a film that never takes itself to seriously and as a result- Red is a great deal of fun. Red starts Bruce Willis as Retired and Extremely Dangerous (get it?) former government agent Frank Moses, who has traded dodging bullets for a bland life of conformity. His day-to-day existence is only lightened by a burgeoning flirtation with Mary Louise Parker’s similarly bored office drone. However inevitably this is all shattered when a death squad of incompetent goons attempt to kill Moses (as it’s an unwritten rule of cinema that one can only ever attempt to kill Bruce Willis). Thus Moses sets out to find and murder those who crossed him. As with all of these movies- this proves to be something Moses carries out with remarkable resourcefulness and an amusing panache.
Although this sounds remarkably like the plot to almost every other action film out there, where Red separates itself from its peers is in its supporting cast. Making up the motley crew of Moses’s former teammates is a genial Morgan Freeman, a hilariously unhinged John Malkovich, a crafty and heavily accented Brian Cox and surprisingly sexy Helen Mirren. Each bring some ludicrous charm to the film, ensuring (along with its tidy 111 minute running time) that Red is never dull.
Therefore I can heartily recommend Red. Sure its overly simple (with many scenes involving Bruce Willis kicking several shades of shit out of some “young punk”) and over the top (at one point Malkovich shoots an oncoming RPG with a revolver) but Red is a film that does exactly what it says on the tin. Therefore while its hardly a brilliant piece of cinema, no other film can boast Helen Mirren pummeling the American Vice President’s motorcade with a mounted M60? Red is fast, dumb fun.