Adapted – and expanded – from a short, three-chapter-long graphic novel, Red is an action comedy romp that finds old-timers Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren having a ball on screen. In fact, it’s possible they had more fun making the movie than the viewer will have watching it, but seen in the right mood director Robert Schwentke’s film remains likeable and enjoyable enough.
A laid-back Willis plays ex-CIA agent Frank Moses who comes out of suburban retirement after surviving an attempt on his life by a squad of heavily armed baddies. To find out who wants to kill him and why, he sets about tracking down and re-assembling his former black-ops team – Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren – with occasional help from former Russian adversary Ivan (Brian Cox).
Also coming along for the ride is feisty single gal Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), the government clerk Frank has fallen in love with over the phone while sorting out his pension. In a plot device familiar from Knight and Day, Frank abducts her for her own protection, gagging her with duct tape and tying her up. It isn’t long, though, before she’s gamely entering into the spirit of the veterans’ adventure.
You’ll need to do much the same when viewing Red. If the prospect of seeing Dame Helen letting rip with a ginormous machine gun while dressed to the nines tickles your fancy, give the film a go.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD on 14th February.