Red is Robert Schwentke‘s adaptation of Warren Ellis‘ comic, starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Karl Urban, Julian McMahon and Richard Dreyfuss.
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) enjoys his retirement. Most notably, he enjoys his monthly calls to his represntative at his insurance company, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Shortly before he gets the courage to actually see her, though, his CIA-operative past catches up with him: a kill squad comes to his house and levels it pretty much completely. Frank survives, the assassins don’t but now Frank has to get Sarah to safety and then call on the help of his old squad – Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox). All the while he’s being hunted by CIA-agent William Cooper (Karl Urban).
Red is everything it promises to be: fun, full of action and oneliners and it’s very entertaining to see this group of people kick ass big time.
Of course, there are some issues with the movie. To quote Roger Ebert:
Some notes: Victoria requires no second name because she is a woman in a thriller; Ivan is a Russian, because the Russian in every thriller is named Ivan; Malkovich may have taken the role because he is never considered for characters named Boggs, and Freeman reveals early that he is dying of liver cancer. We know that as the black member of the team he must die first, “because that’s how he would have wanted it.”
[Btw, not only is Freeman the first to die, he is the only one.]
And yet, the movie is fun. The cast is really good – you could practically see them laughing through the shoot – and the banter between them all just really works. Also, Karl Urban makes nice eye-candy and who wouldn’t want to see Helen Mirren with a machine gun?!
They’ve also resolved the whole kidnapping issue quite well, I thought. I’m not a fan of the “man takes woman hostage to keep her safe” storyline, but in this case they found a rather elegant solution that didn’t suck. At least she gets to free herself and afterwards she follows rather willingly.
Unfortunately I can’t compare the movie with the comic since I haven’t read it (I have a huge gap in my comic education in the shape of Warren Ellis. I plan to rectify this). But now I really want to.
Summarising: Makes for a very entertaining two hours.