Review #30 RED



By Katy Daniels 

Directed by- Robert Schwentke

Starring- Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman

I wasn’t expecting too much from this, because let’s face it; it’s a film about a load of old people who used to be spies. And it is, don’t get me wrong, but I actually found it quite entertaining, and maybe because I expected it to simply be  “pensioners on an adventure”, I was pleasantly surprised.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is an ex-CIA agent who is being hunted by the secret service over “controversy” from his past. In his lonely retirement, he’s struck up a friendship over the phone with his pension caseworker, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), who he goes on the run with to avoid being taken in and killed by CIA agent William Cooper (Karl Urban). Along the way he meets up with some old buddies, so you could say it’s an adventure starring John McLane, the Queen, Lucius Fox and, well, John Malkovich.

I was expecting the movie to take itself too seriously, but there’s enough humour and amusing situations (obviously almost all involving Malkovich) for it to succeed. The movie jumps pretty much straight in, there’s a definite plot and no dillydallying. It’s just under two hours, any more and it would have felt long and drawn out. For a movie about oldsters (ok, I suppose they ARE ex-CIA agents), there’s an awful lot of action, and a fight scene between Cooper and Moses where “Grandpa” kicks ass.

Despite all my praise, the movie becomes a bit predictable. After you find out the sort of twist (which you can see coming), the last quarter of the movie is a little less enjoyable, as you know what’s about to happen. Trust me, you’ll see it. I don’t tend to catch on to these things (I was stunned at the end of Fight Club), but this isn’t very subtle.

To conclude- it’s one of the better pensioner-crime-fighting movies. The newest Die Hard was tedious with Bruce Willis’ references to his ailing health and old creaky bones that you think, “err, then stop jumping off buildings”. At least in RED, they plot and work together.

It’s a good film- and I think I’ll go and read the comic book- but go see the sequel? Maybe. RED 2 will be out next month.

Three and a half stars.