You’re never too old for mayhem.
That seems to be the message of “RED,” a big, explosive and cartoonishly fun comic-book film starring—gasp!—old people.
Although there’s no dearth of spectacular gunplay and fisticuffs in this light-hearted actioner, what makes “RED” really rock is old-fashioned movie-star style. We’re not talking glamour and charisma so much as low-key, deliciously self-aware humor and grace, effortlessly delivered by an A-list cast: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss, Mary-Louise Parker and Ernest Borgnine.
Willis stars as Frank Moses, a retired CIA agent sitting at home bored. His big daily rise comes from talking with Sarah (Parker), an administrative assistant in charge of his monthly retirement check, speaking from her office in Kansas City. They’ve never met in person but he’d like to.
That meeting happens sooner than planned when a team of assassins shows up in the night to kill Frank. Being Bruce Willis, he takes them all out—“RED” stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous—before going on the run. First stop: Kansas City.
He kidnaps Sarah, calmly explaining to her that the CIA is now inexplicably out to kill him and probably her since they've been talking together so much. He whisks her down to New Orleans, where he begins the process of putting together a team of oldies ripe for one more good fight.
First on the list is Freeman as Joe Matheson. Next comes Malkovich as Marvin Boggs, an acid-addled paranoid who often as not has real reason to be suspicious. Lastly, after a break-in at the CIA, the gang hooks up with genteel assassin Victoria (Mirren).
The parade of fine actors continues as Dreyfuss pops up playing a billionaire manipulator and the eternally under-rated Cox takes on the role of a Russian agent looking to cause some trouble.
Mixing Three Stooges anarchy into government conspiracy with a healthy helping of self-acknowledged silliness, old-school “RED” is a colorful blast.
Visual: Detail is stellar throughout, with bold hues popping off set design and costumes, creating a vibrant viewing experience that reinforces the graphic novel origins of the material.
Audio: The DTS-HD 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix skillfully details the world of “RED,” from one-liners to explosive mayhem.
Subtitles: English SDH, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian subtitles are offered.
Extras: The feature-length audio commentary with Retired C.I.A. Field Officer Robert Baer is a curiosity, but not always an interesting listen.
“Deleted and Extended Scenes” (8:46) offer tiny comedic and action beats to fill out the shenanigans, but the primary addition here deals with Cooper and his complicated life at home and work. An extended ending is also included.
“Access: Red” is a clickable trivia track that runs the length of the film, offering viewers featurettes, tidbits, and C.I.A. history to enjoy as they watch the movie.
Grade ★ ★ ★★ out of 5 stars
Available at all Astrovision and Astroplus branches nationwide. Distributed by C-Interactive Digital Entertainment.
Special thanks to OrangeMagazineTV, LG and Astrovision Greenbelt 5 branch