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Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Julian McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Some Violence)

Official Website: http://www.red-themovie.com/

Opening Day: 11 November 2010


Based on the cult D.C. Comics graphic novels by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, RED is an explosive action-comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren.

Frank(Bruce Willis), Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) used to be the CIA's top agents - but the secrets they know just made them the Agency's top targets. Now framed or assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history.

Movie Review:

As the adage goes, the old ginger contains a lot more bite, and Red, about a bunch of old guard black ops operatives suddenly finding themselves in the gun sights of their former employer, have to rely on their camaraderie even with one time enemies, to see them through this ordeal and get back to their idyllic retirement. But haven't we seen enough of the evil agency plots against those who know too much? With films like The Losers and The A-Team, it is most unfortunate we have yet another action film that goes along the same lines, and trying hard to meet the benchmark of Pierre Morel's Taken where a retiree goes on a violent hunting spree.

Based on the DC Comics imprint Homage books of the same name written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Cully Hamner, we follow Bruce Willis' Frank Moses, whose retirement meant a boring routine of tearing up his pension checks so that he can speak to Sarah Ross (Mary Louise Parker), the clerk at the other administrative end, one filling in plenty of idle time, while the other finding opportunities to skive on the phone. With Frank finding himself part of an assassination plot, he gathers Sarah to keep her safe from harm since she's probably going to be collateral damage, and together embark on a spy vs spy road trip to round up Frank's previous partners in sequential fashion, while figuring out the best way to exact a counter-attack on their resourceful enemies, led by CIA agent William Cooper (Karl Urban).

Of course the rot goes way up high into the government hierarchy, and paints a picture of a larger conspiracy that needs to be kept under wraps, but do we really care? Not really, because the villains are none other than your power hungry industrialist type (Richard Dreyfuss) whose ambition is to install a puppet in government, and pulling the strings from the shadows. Collectively they don't pose much of a threat if relying on plenty of faceless goons to finish the job, whom we know become nothing but fodder for the heroes to dispatch in violently gleeful fashion.

Unfortunately director Robert Schwentke's uneven pacing of the film makes it a little schizophrenic, on one hand the action sequences are high octane with a wide variety of weapons on display that will thrill a gun nut, filled with violence yet always with a tinge of cartoony fun, but the dramatic scenes just plain bore and drones on with everyone seemingly patting themselves on the back, going into nostalgic mode as they verbally trade their past experiences with one another, with its fair share of insider wink-wink and smarminess. It does get a little tiring with so much of self-gratification going around, though it did lead to some light hearted moments, especially with Frank facing off with one time enemy now Russian ally Ivan Simanov (Brian Cox), who had and still has the hots for Helen Mirren's Victoria from the British secret service, retired yet doing the occasional side job as she confesses to.

Perhaps the only saving grace here is John Malkovich's presence, and he almost didn't make it to the movie had it not been for John C. Reilly's withdrawal. While everyone brings their respective charisma to the table, it is Malkovich who outshines them all as the paranoid Marvin Boggs, who becomes a recluse and a conspiracy theorist. His character is erratic in behaviour, and given some of the best lines in the film. Not having seen much of him on the big screen here lately also makes this a comeback film of sorts for the actor. If only the rest had equally interesting facades to their characters. Stay in your seat when the end credits start to roll, for a small scene that will come on involving both Willis and Malkovich.

Movie Rating:

(Result? Endure a Disappointment)

Review by Stefan Shih


. The Expendables (2010)

. The A-Team (2010)

. The Losers (2010)

. Rambo 4 (2008)

. Die Hard 4.0 (2007)

. Rogue Assassin (2007)

Hitman (2007)


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