There’s no age limit on causing mayhem – at least according to Red, the entertaining action comedy film. While Hollywood may be obsessed with youth, this movie goes to show you that experience can lead for a wholly fun – and extremely destructive – viewing experience.
Frank (Bruce Willis) is a retired CIA agent. The only excitement in his life comes from phone calls to a government worker, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Things get very interesting very quickly when the CIA puts out a hit on Frank, Sarah, and all his old cronies. Discovering why they’ve been targeted and getting their lives back leads this group on a fun, thoroughly irreverent adventure.
The cast for Red is amazing. The always affable Willis subtly stands aside, and lets his supporting cast steal the show. John Malkovich is truly demented as the ultra-paranoid Marvin Boggs. Helen Mirren exudes class, charisma, and high quality violence as Victoria, and clearly relishes her role. Morgan Freeman shows up as a ruthless but charming former agent, rounding out the main group of elderly assassins. As the hot-shot young agent bent on stopping them, Karl Urban of Star Trek fame more than holds his own among these seasoned professionals. Ernest Borgnine’s cameo is worth the price of rental alone!
The film itself is a fun, silly action movie. And, in a lot of ways, that’s pretty damning praise. Loosely based on the comic written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Cully Hamner, I had hoped that some of the serious tones of the book would hold true. Unfortunately, the film goes for the simpler comedy, and very quickly veers away from the original plot.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Adaptations, by their very nature, can differ drastically from the source material. But… this film is based on a comic by Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis, writer of Transmetropolitan, Freakangels, Lazarus Churchyard, and countless other books. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his unique voice. You can in Red. While the comic retained the sensibilities one would come to expect from Ellis, the movie feels like nothing more than a particularly enjoyable Bruce Willis film. Add into that the fact that director Robert Schwentke does little more than a nod at the visuals created by Cully Hamner, and you end up with a comic movie that feels almost nothing like a comic.
Now, this may seem harsh. Don’t get me wrong, Red is a thoroughly charming, entertaining movie, with a fantastic cast and decent story. It’s just that it could have been so much more.
[xrr rating= 3.5/5]
This guest post was contributed by Lauren Saccone.