Review: RED was one of last fall's most highly anticipated films. (Next to the 'Social Network') It was so highly anticipated because of its all-star ensemble, which includes Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. The difference between this and the summer flop 'The Expendables' is that the actors in the main cast of Red are all academy award winners or nominees. This is essential to the film's success, because they carry a lot of the weight here.
Moving aside from the frontrunners underlies the real breakout star of the film: Mary Louise Parker. She absolutely kills when delivering her lines, intending for comic effect. ("I was hoping you had hair" she says to Bruce Willis' character with the perfect amount of disdain) Helen Mirren also produces the main effect, with her usually violent zingers spurring out as fast her bullets. ("I've never seen him this happy. (Tone Changes) If you break his heart, I will kill you. And bury your body in the woods.")
Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman weren't as funny as I'd hoped for them to be in this movie.(Of course to be fair, the script doesn't really give them much to work with after dishing out zingers between the rest of the cast.) So, this leaves the weight of the male cast to be carried out by Brian Cox and John Malkovich. John Malkovich has his own moments, (He looks exactly like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future!) which usually involve government brain washing plots, stuffed pigs carrying machine guns, and being suspicious towards everyone, including himself. (Malkovich: Why are you trying to kill me? Willis: Why would I be trying to kill you? Malkovich: Because the last time we met I tried to kill you. Willis: That was a long time ago. Malkovich: Some people hold onto things like that.) Basically, The Expendables could take a note out of Red's book-Having an amazing ensemble cast is just stupid unless they actually do something cool! Because acting has a great impact on a movie- like 60% of it. (Which, coincidentally, is the amount of points needed for a fresh rating!)
An actor is nothing without a script. I was so happy when I saw that pretty much every joke in the movie was funny. When you try to make an action comedy, and the comedy fails, the movie flops. So, this was a very big gamble, but it was worth it. I notice that in big-name action movies like this or 'Salt', it's the actor that only gets recognized. That's because the directors are not giving themselves enough credit. I guess it's a good thing that I didn't know Robert Schwentke was directing, (The Time Traveler's Wife, Flightplan) or else I would have waved it off. However, he doesn't try to go out of his way here, (thank goodness!) so it's overall OK. It was, however, pretty cool when he put in some action effects (When the car is making a turn on the road, and Willis just flips open the door, walks out, shoots, and gets back in, all in Slow-mo, or when Malkovich is getting shot with a torpedo, he nails it with a small copper .40)
Other movies on my list with Red were the Other Guys and Knight and Day. I liked it better than both. It is more similar (a lot) to Knight and Day, but I found everything here to run a lot more smooth and satisfying than it. I liked it better than the Other Guys, because at time, I had to cringe at its graphicness and groan at its stale jokes. I'd definitely put all of those movies on a list of recommended action-comedies, but overall, Red was better.
It is comparable to great movies such as Casino Royale and The Bourne Identity, but doesn't yet reach that mark. I am hoping immensely for a sequel to happen, because there are some points that it can draw from. Its plot and story are surprisingly complex for this genre, but it seems that they intelligently made a plot first, than fit in the jokes later. THAT is how an action-comedy should be made.
Synopsis: Retired black-ops agent Frank Morris is RED. Retired and extremely dangerous. He's sitting at home, tearing up checks, an excuse to call a representative he's interested in at the insurance agency. A large group of assassins attempts to kill him, and so he's on the run. He goes to visit Sarah (the representative), like he planned, but has to hide her because the people who are trying to kill him are after her to-he made over 20 phone calls to her in the last month.
He and Sarah discover a list of names of people who were killed because they were involved in a scandal they weren't supposed to know about. They enlist the help of fellow REDs Victoria, Joe, and Marvin to get the badees and save the remaining people on the list.