Now showing on cable: “Red”

Making its debut on Showtime this weekend was 2010’s “RED”, starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Karl Urban and Mary-Louise Parker.

“RED” tells the story of Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a retired CIA operative. Frank has been spending his time having flirtatious phone calls with a phone operator at the company that administers his pension. When he is suddenly targeted for elimination, he shows up at her apartment unannounced and kidnaps her… ostensibly to keep her from being eliminated due to her association with him. He also gets in contact with his old team, who are all retirees, just as he is.

Hence the title of the movie. Retired, Extremely Dangerous.

Willis’ Moses is reportedly one of the most dangerous operatives in the history of the CIA, with an extensive portfolio of Black Ops under his belt.

He gets in contact with his old fellow agents. Morgan Freeman has been suffering from terminal cancer, and is living out his days in a nursing home. John Malkovich has lost his marbles, and is living off the grid, completely paranoid. Supposedly the government was giving him daily doses of LSD for over a decade in some kind of secret experiment. Helen Mirren struck me as Martha Stewart with a machine gun.

Together they work through a lightweight plot where they try to discover why the government wants Moses eliminated. The term “paper thin” comes to mind.

But that’s ok, this isn’t a movie about a story. “RED” is a mix of comedy and deliberately over the top action. Its greatest asset is the cast. Though they’re not given much too work with, its readily apparent they’re all having fun with their characters and each other. Malkovich, especially, is very funny. They also trot out a handful of fun cameos. Overall, it’s pretty fun, and there’s plenty of laughs, but there’s not enough heft to it to give it too good a grade.

It’s lightweight and fun, but not very meaty. Enjoyable, but disposable.

B

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5 thoughts on “Now showing on cable: “Red”

  1. “Enjoyable, but disposable” is pretty much what I’ve been hearing about this movie all along. But, since that describes most of the action film genre anyway, that’s not entirely a bad thing.

    • Yeah, well 90% of “Action” movies I guess.

      The thing is, when its an action movie that DOESN’T feel throw away, it winds up a CLASSIC. Die Hard springs to mind, T2… Raiders.

      I used to have a theory that A calibre Dramas and Comedies were a dime a dozen, but Action Movies that were genuinely excellent were few and far between. I think maybe all the superhero stuff watered that down, because I cant recall the last time I trotted that out

      • Oh, I’d definitely agree with you about A calibre action movies being rare. Top tier dramas are common, top tier comedies somewhat less so, but still more than action movies all right. And truthfully, I think I’d even agree on the ones you pick. Raiders, definitely, Die Hard, absolutely. T2’s a bit iffier, but on the balance, yeah, I’d say it’s worthy.

        I’m not sure the superhero stuff really hinders the argument, either, even given their recent proliferation. I mean, of the superhero movies I’ve seen, the only ones I’d give 5 stars out of 5 to are Superman, the two Nolan Batman films, Spider-Man 2, and Iron Man. Maybe Thor if I wanted to be generous about “big grin” factor over objective quality (a four otherwise). A 4/5, or a “B” on your scale, is about typical for me with them.

  2. This has been stuck in my Netflix queue for ages, constantly being leapfrogged by other movies even though it’s near the top. I should give it a watch really ah!

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