- 03 Nov 10
An enjoyable but thoroughly unoriginal series of explosions, quick escapes and weaponry displays
Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss and Ernest Borgnine star in this Oscar-worthy drama about one woman’s struggle to survive in Nazi Germany. Through sheer determination, strength and bravery, she perseveres against the odds and proves that the Third Reich is no match for True Love…
Okay, fine, that’s not really what RED is about, but with a cast like that, you’d be forgiven for assuming as much - in fact, you’re encouraged to. The dignified, serious reputation of its mature cast is what the boisterous action comedy depends on, for therein lies all the humour of this explosion-filled romp: Look, it’s Morgan Freeman in an old folks’ home, checking out some girl’s ass! Ooh, Helen Mirren is hiding a machine gun behind her elegant flower arrangement! Hey, that guy just called a violent LSD-riddled John Malkovich “Old man” – Oh no he di’int! – Oh yes he did! - Oh you in trouble now, boy! (ad infinitum.)
This unexpected gang of ageing assassins are forced out of their respective retirements and nursing homes and back into gun-toting action when their former CIA comrade Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) finds himself embroiled in a government conspiracy. Dragging along Frank’s doe-eyed love interest Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), the old-timing hit squad take to the road for an enjoyable but thoroughly unoriginal series of explosions, quick escapes and weaponry displays. Echoing The Expendables, Watchmen, and every action film ever made, the predictable plot and the one-note jokes are irredeemably unambitious (especially considering that RED is about Americans taking action against a presidential candidate who committed war crimes – talk about comic gold begging to be written.)
The cast all turn in excellent performances and as a light, enjoyable caper RED succeeds, but ultimately it’s lazy, derivative and immature.
What can I say?