"Red" Movie Review

10/16/2010 Posted by Admin


Movie Review

Directed by Robert Schwentke, Written by Jon Hoeber, Eric Hoeber and Warren Ellis (Comic), Curly Hammer (Comic), Rated PG-13, 110 minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

It’s been a rough year for comic book movies. The revisionary "Kick-Ass" failed to make the dent comic fans had hoped; "Iron Man 2" fell victim to its own universe, figuring it more fun to show off Captain America's shield than giving the characters something to do; and the less said about "Jonah Hex" the better.

Masked avengers need a break in 2010, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that one of the best comic book movies of the year came from an unlikely source.

In the action-comedy "Red," director Robert Schwentke takes an unusual source material, gathers an unbelievable cast that makes "The Expendables" look, well, expendable, and delivers an extremely funny, action-packed movie where gimmicks such as Helen Mirren holding guns, unsurprisingly, don’t grow old.

Based on the comic by Curly Hammer and Warren Ellis (author of the fantastic "Planetary" series), "Red" is the story of Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), an ex-CIA agent struggling to enjoy retirement. So when he,and the woman he loves, Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), become targets of a massive government conspiracy, he turns to his old team to get to the bottom of things and take out whoever is responsible.

Don’t let the well-worn plot turn you off--"Red" works hard to establish its relevance. The action sequences are thrilling and frequent, keeping the movie moving at a brisk pace, during which its veteran-filled cast show no signs of weariness. Bruce Willis is an actor known for this, seeing each situation as something easily handled.  He acts like an older John McClane, showing his new girlfriend around Nakatomi Plaza.

What’s more fun is watching Malkovich run wild with big guns, knives and explosions, which he does with manic fervor and cartoonish insanity. He’s like a bald Yosemite Sam just getting over a 20-year long acid trip – in which case, as Parker claims, he looks fantastic.

Mirren plays things with more reservation. As Victoria, she’s adapted to home life better than Frank or the paranoid Marvin (Malkovich) and it shows. She lives quietly in her mansion, enjoying the flower arranging and baking. She brings this quiet charm to the action sequences, as well, finally bringing that unflinching grace the Gatling gun has cried decades for.

They make the movie work, and while the action sequences are exciting, the cast breathes life into the tired formula.

"Red" is a rare type of action movie that is good in all the right places. Sure, the script isn’t the best and the story is tired, but the fantastic cast and action sequences make the film far more enjoyable than most action films this year.

Grade: B+

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