Red Movie Review
An all-star cast takes aim in the latest team-based action-comedy of the year - Red - and more often than not hits the target. Funny and at times exciting, Red is a satisfying little movie that thrives on its odd but perfect cast and a screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber.
In Red, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren star as former CIA black ops agents who for some reason have been targeted by their government for elimination, even though they're retired and past their prime. The four, all itching for action, decide to fight back and figure out who has ordered their deaths and, more importantly, why. Mary-Louise Parker and Karl Urban also star.
Red is a funny little film with clever dialogue and goofy but not entirely outlandish scenarios. The Hoeber brothers' screenplay isn't perfect but it works well enough, and the same can be said about director Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler's Wife). Red isn't the slickest or wittiest movie this year by any stretch of the imaginative, but it is good enough.
What takes Red to the next level is the casting. Bruce Willis is always enjoyable and, despite Red being an ensemble, really is the central character. But John Malkovich delivers a pitch-perfect performance as an off-his-rocker paranoid and there's just something satisfying about watching Helen Mirren fire a rail gun. Mary-Louise Parker is gleefully entertaining as the one "innocent" in the movie.
Red's shortcomings are simple: the movie is slow in its simple act and could have been tightened up considerably. It meanders for a while as Willis attempts to get the gang back together; much of this exposition could have been skimmed over to bring the other cast members into the movie quicker. Mirren, for instance, is notably absent from more than half the movie.
Red is neither the funniest nor most action-packed movie of the year, but it is legitimately entertaining and not one to be overlooked.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.