Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RED: Retired Extremely Dangerous

This is an entry that probably does not have its place here: I vowed to review “classics”, and recently I have kind of strayed. But let us accept that a movie starring legends such as Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and rising star Marie-Louise Parker (Weeds) deserves an entry. With such legendary actors and Richard Dreyfuss and gorgeous Julian McMahon supporting, you’d think you’re in for a good moment.

The plot of RED seems fun enough: Frank (Willis) is a retired CIA agent, who enjoys a phone relationship with Sarah (Parker), the customer service representation working at his pension’s office. When men try to kill him, Frank recruits his old team (Malkovich, Freeman and Mirren) and, helped by Sarah, they try to figure out who is out to get them, and save their lives.


What worked?

The cast, to start with – excellent actors who work very well together and look like they  are really having fun. Good discovery: Karl Urban, that I did not know before, quite nice on the eye.

I absolutely loved John Malkovich, the only one, I thought, who was flawless. Perfect as the paranoid living in a bunker and still stone from the 11-years acid trip he took and thinking anyone following him is out to kill him. The most fun moments were with him in the scene. I particularly liked the “baseball grenade” scene.

What didn’t work?

The story is weak and is not punchy enough to keep the viewer interested ; the plot is so unrealistic it is almost sad: who gets to enter the CIA building just like that? Granted, it is a second, even third or fourth degree movie, but highly doubtful, even completely unrealistic (dare I say “ridiculous”) at times. The villain Dreyfuss is less than credible, and, when the whole plot unfolded, I was at the point where I could not care less. So I am not even sure what it was all about! Mirren is fine but comes in too late to really make an impact. As for Freeman, he is barely there in the film. The role of Sarah is relatively unnecessary, and the love story that develops is a bit too much for me: he is old enough to be her dad.


Marvin: Do you know what's wrong with this country?

Sarah: They all are trying to kill us?

Marvin: Exactly!


Sarah: Wow. This guy's insane.

Frank: Well, he thought he was the subject of a secret government mind control project. As it turns out, he really was being given daily doses of LSD for 11 years.

Sarah: Well in that case, he looks great. Yeah.

Frank: Fantastic...


Ivan Simanov: I miss the old days.

I haven't killed anyone in years.

Frank Moses: That's sad.


All in all, as waste of my time. But hey, we all have different tastes! Maybe some people with find it extraordinary. Maybe I was just not in the mood. But I won’t try again.


Coming next: a real classic. Till then….

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