Friday, January 28, 2011

Movie Review: RED

I wanted to see RED when it came out in theatres. I like everyone in the cast, and I love action-comedies. When it came out last fall, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about it. Some people were complaining because it's based on a graphic novel that is apparently dark and very serious, and "Hollywood turned it into a rom-com," the comics fans would say disdainfully.

I didn't get to see it in theatres, because we were busy the first couple of weekends it was out, and then the third weekend it was only in one theatre, not very convenient to our house and only at one time in the morning, and by the time I looked for it on Saturday, it was too late to make it. I think there was a fourth week and the times still weren't convenient. We have to give our cat Indy an insulin shot at 8:00pm, so a movie with a listed starting time of 5:30pm or later is simply not possible.

Now the movie is out on DVD, so we picked it up the "Special Edition" this evening (Walmart for $15).

First, a quick summary:

Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired CIA operative who's so bored and lonely that he keeps tearing up his retirement checks so he has an excuse to talk to Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) at the call center. When a team of operatives shows up trying to kill him, he realizes that Sarah is at risk, so he travels to her apartment and, when she freaks out, he kidnaps her. Over the course of the movie, they team up with several other retired operatives (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox) to find out why he's a target, and uncover a conspiracy designed to protect a powerful politician.

The movie is well-paced and very funny. I laughed out loud several times and also gasped at some of the incredible near-miss action sequences. I know most of it is done with computers now, but they had some very clever set-ups. It was well-plotted. We saw Sarah start to trust Frank and come to care for him. There was a great sense of camaraderie and sense of duty among the old timers. The younger CIA agent (Karl Urban) who is assigned to go after him, gives just about as good as he gets, but he can't get the upper hand on the seasoned retirees.

I don't remember much, if any bad language. There's no nudity.  It's an action film, so there is a lot of violence. It's not particularly bloody, but people do get blown up.

I'm disappointed in the DVD because of the sparse special features. They have no business calling this a special edition. The trailer isn't even included. There's a commentary from a former CIA agent, some deleted and extended scenes, and something called "Access RED" that's supposed to include some interviews and trivia. I haven't watched any of the special features yet, but it doesn't sound like a lot.

If you enjoy '80s-style action movies, , if you like a well-thought-out story that's a bit of a mystery, or if you believe there's life after 40, then I think you'll enjoy the film RED.

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