Red is not an ambitious film. Based on a graphic novel, it concerns retired and still ultra competent black ops agent Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis. A little bored, Frank has taken to calling the government’s pension office and flirting with one of the phone agents named Sarah, played by Mary-Louise Parker. They are quickly developing a relationship and he brooches the subject of meeting in person. Then a CIA strike team comes to try to kill him. Since they know about his relationship with Sarah (how is somewhat unclear) Frank collects her and they travel across the country, putting Frank’s crew back together and trying to find out why the Company wants to kill him.

Hey, it’s a plot, if only just barely.

Look at this cast, however, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox. Those are some high-powered actors that the producer talked into slumming for this project. The performances are more fun than profound. Bruce Willis, essentially plays a variation on his signature role, John McClane. Morgan Freeman sleepwalks through this, and there’s really no reason to wake him. John Malkovich is very entertaining and funny as a paranoid loose cannon. There’s something about the sight of a still sexy at sixty-five Helen Mirren firing automatic weaponry that stirs emotions in fanboys that are best left unexplored.

Red is disposable cinema. It gets the job done. You’ll be entertained for almost two hours, but it’ll fade as soon as you leave the theater.


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October 2010
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