Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Icon Film Distribution
Now Showing

Following on from The A-Team, The Expendables and The Losers, three earlier 2010 movies about ragtag groups of retired black ops and secret agents re-banding to right some injustice and kick the asses of those who did them wrong, comes Red, a comparatively better executed take on a similar theme.

The main departure from those other three films is the almost literal use of the word retired when it comes to the casting for Red. Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox, John Malkovich and, most notably, Helen Mirren are not the first names that come to mind when you think action heroes. Retirees, yes; bad asses, not so much.

Bruce Willis, on the other hand, is an old hand at these action man shenanigans but when the film opens we find his Frank Moses, one-time CIA agent, already retired to the suburbs. He fills his days calling the pension office to flirt with the operator who mails his cheques, the ones he tears up and says never arrived as a pretense for calling.

The operator is Sarah (Mary Louise Parker). She likes the sound of Frank, and pretty soon she finds herself on the run with him, in various states of consciousness and bondage, when Frank is targeted for termination by his formers employees. That's when Frank gets the old gang back together again and Red (the title is an acronym for Retired and Extremely Dangerous), proves it's far more entertaining than those aforementioned three films combined.

Directed by Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveller's Wife) and adapted from a graphic novel, Red may not have as much wit as hoped for, but it is fun. How could a film where Helen Mirren uses a machine, amongst other weaponry, not be?

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