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Frank (Willis) is a former black ops CIA agent living a quiet life alone... until the day a hit squad shows up to kill him. When his identity compromised, Frank reassembles his old team - Joe (Freeman), Marvin(Malkovich) and Victoria (Mirren) and sets out to prove that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Stand back and watch the bullets fly in this explosive action comedy.
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Mixing action and light-hearted comedy often produces tepid results. The gags being more broken than Malkovich's mind. Fortunately this adaptation knows exactly what it is and never tries to be anything else. It's straight up fun, entertaining and swift. Agents literally explode into smithereens. I mean, literally. Boom! An exquisitely dressed Mirren unleashes a barrage of bullets from a gun that is three times the size of her. Willis actually smiles. And I'm absolutely fine with Parker getting kidnapped and handcuffed to a bed against her will. Perhaps the only time I'll allow that, ever.
Sure, the plot descends into a blah-fest that no one cares about, mostly due to the environment changing every eight seconds (to which a postcard is shoved in my face). And the climax is so anti-climactic that Willis essentially sneezes on the villain and the world is saved. Yet the cast packed tonnes of charisma into their performances, that they outdo the script given to them. The older cast members delivered the goods, but so did Urban who channelled his inner badass in preparation for 'Dredd'. Despite the generic forgettable plot of RED that not even the fantastic cast cared about and Willis munching on Parker's face at the end (ew...), it's the buoyant action and humour that elevated this adaptation into be classified as "good".
I guess you could say that it’s a bit of a gimmick having the lead being an ‘elderly’ balding (sorry Bruce!) hero, as opposed to a young man with a nice tan and full head of hair on the run. In fact… it is the ‘age factor’ that is this film’s only real selling point. Bruce doesn’t go it alone, he’s helped out by an aging John Malkovich, an aging Morgan Freeman and an aging Helen Mirran – all of which are quite capable to murdering any young, highly-trained upstart who gets in their way. And, yes, it is fun to see them in action.
Despite the serious subject matter of death at every turn, the film never even attempts to take itself seriously. It knows it’s daft and over the top and that’s its main saving grace. If it tried to make us think that a bunch of senior citizens could really do all this then it would be ridiculous. However, throughout all the car chases and shootouts it almost parodies itself.
If you like your action movies fun (like pre Daniel Craig Bond) then you should appreciate this, plus if you’re a fan of Bruce Willis doing what he does best, or just want to see Helen Mirren wield a sniper’s rifle, then you should definitely enjoy this. The plot is simple, Karl Urban is kind of wasted as the film’s primary antagonist, hell bent on Willis’ capture/death, but he’s a nice addition anyway. Just don’t think too deeply about why an older man still has to have a considerably younger love interest at his side!
Based on a short graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer, the producers (or whoever) had the sense to keep only the idea and the skeleton of the story, flesh it out and hire some of the best actors of a certain age which also includes Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss, use a script peppered with great dialogue and lots of action, and let it loose.
Ex-CIA black ops agent Willis regularly phones an office in Kansas City ostensibly to complain about the non-appearance of his retirement cheque but really to flirt with the thirty-something woman (Mary-Louise Parker) who deals with his case. When, following the latest call, a CIA hit team arrive to take him out but get taken by him. He then drives to Kansas City to rescue/kidnap Parker before they get to her and then get in touch with old black ops buddies to find out what the hell has been going on.
Freeman is in an old people's home dying of cancer, Malkovitch is paranoid and living in a swamp, ex-MI6 hitwoman Mirren is living a gentile life in the American countryside. He also consults old Russian enemy Brian Cox who has a history with Mirren. Meanwhile immaculately dressed, ruthless CIA hitman Karl Urban (a fine actor when given the right role) is given the task of dealing with Willis and his team. Urban has only one flaw which is a tendency to independent thinking. I can't tell you Richard Dreyfuss' role in this or I'd have to kill you.
What you get is an action-packed but witty romp where all the cast are on top form and clearly having fun at the same time. There's great chemistry between the five leads -don't forget Parker, and Cox's part is more than a cameo. The action sequences are done well and watch out for John Malkovitch versus... but that would be telling. Sure it's a mindless piece of fluff but it also happens to be great entertainment and a sequel would be welcomed by me at least.
The film is about a team of former agents that are classed as RED - retired and extremely dangerous, and some are linked to an event that occurred a number of years ago and are the target of an attempt on the behalf of the American Vice President, so cue these retired agents fighting back. It is brilliant and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who's after a fun, action-packed film with a group of good actors. Helen Mirram, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis are amazing in this, Malkovich stood out for me, as he was just hilarious - slightly paranoid and crazy
Just because your retired, it doesn't mean you aren't still dangerous :.
Here the line is not crossed, since the plot is quite convincing and you enjoy the big cast who make fun of themselves but still do not make you feel like they are just having more fun than you.
Director and actors have been good at finding the right balance between parody and comedy.