Red: PG-13, Directed by Robert Schwentke, starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and featuring Richard Dreyfuss, and Ernest Borgnine… I know.
Red is an espionage, action/comedy loosely based on the DC comic of the same name. The title, Red, stands for: Retired, Extremely Dangerous. The film is directed by German director Robert Schwentke so it has the feel of a lot of European action films, but with the comedic sensibility of an American film.
So first on this long list is Bruce Willis. I’ve never been huge into Bruce Willis¸ nor have I ever shied away from his movies, but I actually was very pleased with his performance in Red. He played your kind of classic action hero, just after he’s been out of the game for some years, but hasn’t missed a step. You could really tell this role came naturally to Willis.
Next is Mary-Louise Parker who’s probably best known for her work in Fried Green Tomatoes, Boys on the Side, and as the main character in the HBO series Weeds. I have not seen any of those, but I did really like Parker in this movie. She was the love interest for Willis and the only main character who wasn’t mixed up in any kind of espionage so, as the audience member, you identified with her above the other characters and she really kept the film grounded. I think that without her all of the action and adventure would be too overwhelming and not nearly as believable.
Karl Urban, probably best known for the role of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the recent Star Trek remake, and as Éomer in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, plays, what I think is, my favorite character in the whole film. Urban plays the CIA Agent in charge of killing Willis’s character. When their two characters meet, it’s the best of both generations. He’s Willis’s only real match in the film and even though he’s a villain, he really has this way of making you root for him.
Yeah, you know, John Malkovich, he’s just awesome. This is by far the funniest part I’ve ever seen him play. He’s this horribly paranoid man who lives underground and is always in and out of various forms of camouflage and carrying a gun, and making outrageous claims. At one point Willis’s character says that for 11 years he was given daily doses of LSD, but he’s still an excellent agent and quickly became a major asset to the team. I’d love to see Malkovich in more laugh-out-loud comedic roles.
This movie just got more and more fun, and who’s more fun to watch than Morgan Freeman? Freeman was his usual self in Red, but hey, who’s complaining? He’s got such a natural and real flow to his acting style, you just can help, but love whatever character he plays whether it’s the character itself or his performance.
So lastly in the main cast is Helen Mirren…I don’t know if I can handle witnessing all of this talent. Mirren plays a bit of a different character in this film as compared from her other films…And that was a bit of an understatement. I never thought I’d say that Helen Mirren can kick butt, and kick butt well. Out of almost the whole cast she looked particularly comfortable holding a gun; like she had been doing it for years and I know that to be very untrue. Mirren put on a very entertaining performance and she really was the perfect touch to set this movie over the top.
…But wait, there’s more…
Richard Dreyfuss role, however small, was quite entertaining. It would’ve been enough just to see him, but as the story went on he meant more and more to the plot. Dreyfuss is one of those actors who you never get tired of watching.
And last, but never least is ninety-three-year old cinema legend Ernest Borgnine. Yes, Ernest Borgnine and yes, ninety-three. Even at his age, he has not lost a beat; he’s still all there in all of his classically hilarious glory. It was just an awesome treat to see him still kicking and kicking strong.
So, if you couldn’t already tell, I loved this movie. It had the best of both action flicks and comedies. The cast was just unbeatable and outrageously fun. And being directed by a German filmmaker, you got a little bit of grit and camp of European action films, but from the perspective of the average American. The fight scenes were the most creative and exciting out of most recent action movies. I think this movie is perfect for anyone who loves a wild ride, and an exciting movie. This one is a must-see.