US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) seems to be living a decent, if somewhat dull, existence in the suburbs, with his nicely decorated home, avocado growing in a jar, and collection of Christmas decorations sprucing up his lawn. The one bright spot in his month is his phone relationship with Call Center worker Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), a romance novel-reading woman who appears to be very much a gal after his own heart. As things often happen, however, when one is a former Black Ops agent with the CIA, things get ugly, Frank finds himself deemed, RED: Retired, Extremely Dangerous, Sarah finds herself on the run with Frank, and the two must enlist the help of Franks former co-workers (Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman) before they all end up casualties of a mysterious hit list being carried out by one very resourceful Agent Cooper (Karl Urban) and some powerful folks right smack dab in the middle of our government.
It wouldve been difficult to ruin this movie, given the assembled talent and premise ripe with promise. Seriouslyput Bruce Willis with guns and explosions and were good already, but add in Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman, and nothing can go wrong. And it doesnt, happily, which makes for a thoroughly enjoyable action film that sidesteps any predictability or incredulousness simply by being fun. Sometimes action movies forget that humor is their friend, or the reverse happens, and it all becomes too jokey and one-note, but this one strikes a balance that keeps it consistent and surprising all at once, and with Malkovich running around spouting (true) conspiracy theories, all is right with the world.
The surprise, for me, was how likeable Parker is. I mean, Ive never had anything against her, but shes just really good as Bruces romantic partner, and even in some of the totally unbelievable bits shes tossed into, she shines. Thats not to say, though, that everyone isnt spot onits especially thrilling to see Helen Mirren channel both Martha Stewart and cold-blooded killer all at once (though I guess thats kind of the same). Performances go a long way towards helping us forgive things such as Parkers characters relative ease with her new situation or the sometimes murky hit list plot that is really more just an excuse for action. We forgive, though, because its entertaining action, and because when youre watching something that has sucked you in because the characters are so good, sometimes the other flaws arent so glaring.
It's Got: Superb casting, much funny, a gun-holding piggy backpack
It Needs: A sequel, more Malkovich, Joe to rise from the dead
Red does all the things an action movie should do, and it proves you don’t need hot young stars to blow things up.