Thursday, 2 December 2010

RED - (2010) – Cinema Review (7.5/10)

The Old Guys Fight Back

RED is the story of ex-secret agent Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Twelve Monkeys), busily enjoying a secluded retirement with a hint of possible romance in his future. Then his world erupts once again, and he must rescue the girl and once more gather his ageing compatriots in an effort save them all.

In the broadest terms, RED has a lot of similarities to the initial setup of the classic 80s Schwarzenegger action movie, Commando (Which is ironic, given Willis' breakthrough movie was Die Hard, originally written as an intended sequel to Commando).

The cast is impressive, including Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en), Helen Mirren (2010, The Queen, Inkheart), John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich, Con Air, Eragon), Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Holland's Opus), Brian Cox (The Long Kiss Goodnight, Troy, x-Men 2) and filling it out in the younger category, Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings, Doom, Star Trek) and Mary-Louise Parker (The Spiderwick Chronicles, TV's Weeds).

It's all great fun, watching this group of ageing stars whipping the youngsters' proverbial posteriors. It's impossible not to enjoy seeing Helen Mirren acting like a perfect lady, as she hides a machine gun behind a vase of flowers, or John Malkovich as a rather nutty and paranoid ex-spy.

There's very little to dislike in RED. The actors are clearly having a great time in their roles, and it creates an infectious atmosphere of enjoyment. Meanwhile, the twists and turns of the plot are nothing shockingly original, but neither are they so blatant and obvious as to leave you rolling your eyes.

I only have two real criticisms. Firstly, the fate of one member of the team is rather lacklustre and ends up almost forgotten, when it should have been more poignant. Secondly, whilst enormous fun, the whole thing is rather forgettable. There's nothing that's likely to make you wish to revisit the film regularly, or rush out and buy it. You'll probably finish watching it all with a smile, but you won't find yourself avidly talking about it and dissecting it afterwards, either.

All-in-all, it's an enjoyable diversion, raised rather higher than it could have been, by a great cast with a contagious sense of fun and some explosive action.


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