The graphic novel RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) was brought to vibrant life, by director Robert Schwentke. With a cast that could balance the action beats with the comedic elements needs of the story, Red entertains and shows that age may be just a number, and these characters haven’t had their number come up yet.
Retired agent, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) seems to live for placing one phone call a week to the customer service branch of his pension. Each week he chats with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker – who I have crushed on forever) and they have a bit of a flirt.
But when his past comes back to haunt him, some long-forgotten mission got pulled out from under the rug and is close to being drawn into the light of day, a kill order is placed on Frank, other survivors of the mission, and anyone who may be close to him, including Sarah.
Frank isn’t quite willing to lay down and die yet, so he gets the band back together, and a team of aged, but definitely dangerous (and violent) retired agents come together for one last mission, and help Frank get the girl. Among his cohorts are Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), and Victoria (Helen Mirren – another huge crush). They are going to be unstoppable at getting out from under this and getting the truth known.
Hilarious character beats and banter, solid action sequences, and dastardly villains played by Karl Urban and Richard Dreyfuss make for an entertaining watch.
With strong pacing, tight editing, and a strong case this one is almost a can’t miss, and the star power makes this one to see.
Eagle-eyed Canadians will recognize parts of Toronto, but that doesn’t detract from the sense of fun that seems to permeate the whole film, anchored, successfully, by the performances of the leads.
Some of the action beats are so ludicrous that they can’t help but to be enjoyed, and the dialogue and the character work here makes for a fun experience. I’ve never read the original graphic novel on which the film is based, but I’m not sure I would want to detract from my experience.
And of course the book doesn’t have Mary-Louise Parker.
The globe-trotting adventure leads them to a pretty bold climax, assassinating a political leader, which post 6th January is pretty troubling. In fact watching the attack now was a little unnerving, even knowing what the characters know about the man. Happily enough, it all evens out by the end of the film, and the heroes are right, the baddies are punished, Moses gets the girl, and the adventures continue.
The film did so well that a sequel was quickly commissioned, so you know that will be coming up sometime soon.