Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Release Review: RED (Robert Schwentke, 2010)

Red is a typical popcorn flick, no more no less. This action/comedy, directed by Robert Schwentke, is loosely based on a series of comic books published by DC Comics. The stellar cast, including Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss all have a lot of fun here. It's a real pity the awful script gives them nothing interesting to do and fails to involve the audience in this fun. After a reporter investigating a 1981 top-secret extraction mission in Guatemala is found murdered, the C.I.A target a list of names involved in the mission to silence them. One of these targets is Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a former black-ops C.I.A agent now living in quiet retirement. The highlights of his day are the conversations he has with Federal pension customer service operator, Sarah (Mary Louise Parker). When he survivals a brutal assault on his residence, he travels to Kansas City to rescue Sarah, who he believes is in danger as a result of C.I.A surveillance on his phone line. Keeping Sarah as a captive, he seeks out his old mentor Joe (Morgan Freeman) who is living in a retirement home, and another ex-agent Marvin (John Malkovich), a paranoid conspiracy theorist who provides some information about the rest of the hit list. Having bonded, Frank and Sarah manage to evade the obsessive young C.I.A agent assigned to their extinction (Karl Urban) and break into the C.I.A and steal the Guatemala file, retiring to the house of former Wetwork Agent, Victoria (Helen Mirren). With the old team now assembled, and discovering that the American Vice President, Robert Stanton (Julian McMahon) is behind the threat, they design a sting to reveal the dirty secrets he is trying so desperately to eradicate. The final act at the political campaign party is pretty cool, but unfortunately my interest was long gone before then. Taking seemingly forever to develop the plot, this heavily-cliched action spoof really fails to engage. The characters are fairly ridiculous and even John Malkovich, who i was convinced would be reason alone to see the film, was quite unfunny. With the exception of a couple of amusing action sequences, it ultimately becomes a bit too pedestrian and neat. Having said that, the script and the direction are a real mess. Overall, Red was a forgettable experience, and despite the tongue-in-cheek fun, it was never particularly entertaining. 

My Rating: 2 Stars

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