Movie Review: On the Edge of My Seat -- But for the Right Reason?


In yet another film adaption of a comic-book series, RED follows the escapades of former black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis). Frank is now living a quiet life -- but maybe it's a bit too boring for someone the government labeled, "Retired, Extremely Dangerous." Now he's reduced to pining away for Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker from TV's Weeds) -- a woman he's never met in person, just talked to over the phone.

Things get interesting fast for us though, as would-be assassins enter Frank's life, and kidnappers take Sarah hostage. To combat his enemies, Frank reassembles his old team -- quite an oddball mix of characters. What transpires is a road trip full of cartoon violence, romance and a few laughs.

Willis (Die Hard series) is at his goofy best once again, and the film's silliness is saved (barely) thanks to him and the strong supporting cast -- which includes Oscar winners Helen Mirren (The Queen), Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl) and Ernest Borgnine (Marty). Also on board are John Malkovich (Secretariat), Brian Cox and Karl Urban (Star Trek). The action-comedy is directed by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, The Time Traveler's Wife), with a screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber based on the comic book series by Warren Ellis. There's nothing original in this story, but it's a hoot alone just to see Mirren play out of character. You'll just wish she and the others had better material to work with here. [Rated PG-13; opens tomorrow]

Grade: B-


  • I nearly fell off my seat at my August screening of the film. As you may recall from an earlier post (here), I visited New Orleans for the first time this past spring. I loved attending Jazz Fest and exploring the city -- but my hotel was a dump. It was the only accommodations my buddy and I could find thanks to the musical festival, a national convention and a golf tournament all being held in The Big Easy at the same time! Well, imagine my shock when the hotel made an appearance in this film! The St. Vincent's Guest House was built in 1861 as an orphanage, and remained so until the 1970s when it was converted to its current use. In the movie, the hotel serves as nursing home where the Bruce Willis character visits his fellow retiree, played by Morgan Freeman. Movie magic strikes again -- as the dump actually looks good on screen!
  • Fun fact: Brian Cox also starred in a 2008 thriller titled Red.
  • Click on the Film Reviews icon at left for more reviews.
  • Coming tomorrow: a review of Conviction starring Hilary Swank.

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