Red (with Bruce Willis)
Retired Black-Ops agent Frank Moses is trying to integrate back into society by playing phone tag with a receptionist he’s developing a thing for when a wet team suddenly drops in on him in the dead of night to take him out. Looking to settle the score (and protect the woman he’s now put in danger) Frank decides to reassemble the old gang for one last job.
I didn’t go into RED with high expectations for a couple of reasons, the first being that the trailer didn’t exactly blow me away; there were a couple bad one liners and the premise seemed a bit of a stretch. Now the main reason I wasn’t impressed was due to the PG-13 rating. This is a film based upon a graphic novel from our crew over at DC and though not all graphic novel to film transitions end up like 300 or THE WATCHMEN, I really do feel this one could have benefited from bump up in the hierarchy. That said, RED was a blast in more ways than one and a definite pick-me-up in this dull theatrical time.
The story was solid and conveyed retired assassins in what I would envision to be an accurate (and quite humorous, the Christmas decorations bit was a hoot) fashion. I mean honestly, what does one do to avoid boredom after a life killing? Hearing one of the characters gripe about not having killed someone in years and then another admitting to taking the odd contract on the side was priceless and again, probably not too far from the mark. Of course on that note, the film’s tone was rather light hearted when weighed against the often bleak subject matter which to me clearly goes back to the rating. There’s room for a splash of humour without watering a film down (take KICK ASS for example) from grittier glory and as good a time as RED was I firmly believe it could have been better.
What really drives this film into the bleachers is the flawless cast. Bruce Willis has still got it; that much needs to be immediately put out there. I was sceptical about the last DIE HARD flick but Willis handled himself like a true action star would as he also does here. Now mind you I would consider this film a lot closer to THE WHOLE NINE YARDS than any full tilt action vehicle but bottom line Bruce still packs a punch. Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox and John Malkovich are always a pleasure and they even squeezed in a couple nice cameos from James Remar and Richard Dreyfuss but it was Karl Urban who steals the show next to Willis. Urban’s been an up and coming favourite of mine for awhile but fell off the grid for a time up until STAR TREK and I for one am happy to see him back in the game.
RED was a lot of fun and to be honest, I shouldn’t have had any doubts because DC has upped their game considerably of late (on all fronts) and continues to amaze me. The action was well shot, the shootouts were some of the best I’ve seen in awhile and the stunts were as sharp as the explosions. I also enjoyed the dialogue (even if it was corny at times) but the team, good as they are, seemed to get things done with minimal trouble or notice (Bruce’s house getting shot up as it did didn’t even seem to stir a neighbourhood dog let alone the neighbours themselves). This film is worth your money don’t get me wrong, I just tend to see things for what they could have been when it comes to action, especially when I enjoy what I saw.