REVIEW: ‘RED’

Director:
Robert Schwentke
Cast:
Bruce Willis
Morgan Freeman
Helen Mirren
John Malkovich
Rated: R

If I have to hear the line “we’re getting the band back together” one more time I’ll go crazy.

In this film, Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired CIA agent who is living life day-to-day. The only thing that gives him something different in his life is calling a receptionist named Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) and starts getting friendly with her. It isn’t long though before a special ops team tries to kill Frank. This sets Frank off to first pick up Sarah since the CIA is tracking her, too.

After doing this Frank goes to his old friends, no pun intended, to warn them about being in danger also. The team he forms includes Joe (Freeman), Marvin (Malkovich), and Victoria (Mirren). As they work together to find out why they are being targeted, they are followed by Agent Cooper (Karl Urban).

So here’s another movie in the sort of ‘men on a mission’ movie following The Expendables and I have to say this was much less memorable. Despite having all these good actors in the film, it never really felt like anything more than a standard action picture. Nothing ever feels too engaging.

The performances were average in the picture, too. Willis seemed to be just playing the same character he has since “Live Free or Die Hard” and Morgan Freeman has such little screen time it feels like he was wasted. It was difficult to see Mirren and Malkovich as actual action stars, too.

This might have been because of the characters they portray. The movie is all based practically around the same gimmick, they’re old but they can still fight and do all this crazy spy stuff. This novelty wears off pretty quickly, though, which in turn hurts the film since the characters don’t have much beyond that single quirk.

Another issue in the movie was the relationship between Sarah and Frank coming off as very forced. The two performers didn’t have much chemistry and Sarah didn’t really fit in with the rest of the movie.

The action in the film was OK, but it got downright cartoonish at times, such as when one of the characters shoot down a rocket propelled grenade with a pistol. The problem is the tone of the film doesn’t lend itself to these over the top action sequences the same way a franchise like “Fast and the Furious” does.

Despite having all these actors in it, the film just didn’t come together well. The whole film is just average. It’s entertaining enough, comedic enough and interesting enough just to keep your attention and that’s about it. 2 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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