Just when you think your favourite action star is getting old, they dust off their bullet holes and cuts to appear in The Expendables.
How about you go one further and base it in the older demographic, fully retired, nursing and pension cheques, and add that wacky humour that old people would have?
That’s where RED comes in.
Based on the DC Comic – short for Retired Extremely Dangeous – We begin with retired CIA Agent Frank Moses (everyone’s favourite action star Bruce Willis), sitting at home by his lonesome, wondering what to do with his retired life. He’s that bored, his monthly pension cheque is destroyed every time it arrives so he can have an excuse to speak to the operator Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), whom they both have a crush on each other, but never met. Eventually, on the last call he makes, he drops the hint that he’ll be in town, in which Sarah ends up nervously asking for a ‘catch-up’, in which he agrees.
One day, Moses wakes up earlier than usually and carries on with his boring duties, until he disappears into his kitchen. Suddenly, a SWAT team intrude silently into the house and begin to attack, discovering he’s actually ambushed them. The trap has been laid, and is set off once more troops arrive. Moses escapes, and he begins his trip to find out who is after him. But first, he visits Sarah at home, who is taken by surprise. He then tells her how much her life is in danger because their phone calls were tapped, and kidnaps her on their first date. From there, he visits some old retired friends: Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman) based in a retirement home, Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), a slightly over-paranoid ex agent who lives in a secret bunker, and Victoria (Helen Mirren), a blissfully living retiree who still has the odd job of feeling the cold steel between her itchy trigger fingers. When Moses gathers them all, including Sarah, who is then convinced of his background, the plan arranged – the CIA have been ordered by the Vice President (Julian McMahon) to kill the retired agents that have been labelled RED, as they were involved in a village massacre that the Vice President conducted while still in the military, as he is running for Presidency. A clean slate of the past.
But as old as they seem, you can’t keep a good man (or woman) down.
With some funny kill shots in some scenes, such as the rocket launcher, hitting a grenade back, and some decent shoot-out scenes, the movie does have a slow pace. Maybe it is designed to feel slow paced due to the whole ‘retired’ achy feeling of the characters. Some smaller roles performed amusingly by James Remar, Brian Cox, and Richard Dreyfuss, RED feels like that someone has dragged out all the Bond actors from Connery to Craig and threw them together in a film as one last hurrah before they knock on the door of the pearly gates. Willis holds the movie well, but Malkovich steals the show as the crazed nutter whom you wouldn’t want to live next door to, due to the paranoia and the overhead satellites. A funny suicide bomber scene is highly amusing, which would make you probably react the same way if you saw him running at you with a children’s wall clock attached to his chest.
Don’t expect all-action, go for the fun, and the metamucil.