Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Premise: A group of retired CIA agents are targeted for assassination. The retirees band together in an effort to discover who is targeting them.
What Works: There have been several buddies-in-action films this year, including The Losers, The A-Team, and The Expendables. Red follows a similar format, and comes out near the top of that pile. Red is a fun action film with lots of humor. The main relationship of the story exists between a retired CIA agent played by Bruce Willis and a bored office employee played by Mary Louise Parker. Willis and Parker work well together. Willis is unexpectedly vulnerable and gives his side of the romance some dramatic weight, while Parker carries a lot of the comedy. Also amusing is John Malkovich as the paranoid and unstable member of the team and Malkovich uses his talents at playing creepy characters to comic effect. The story of Red moves fairly briskly and it keeps the tone light hearted while also delivering the kinds of shootouts and chases that action fans expect from this kind of film.
What Doesn’t: Red does have some trouble with cliché. This is a predictable movie and the actors fill roles that are preordained character types: the leader, the sharpshooter, the unstable guy, and the intellectual. The mystery of the assassination plot is never made entirely clear and the team’s conflict with their nemesis is strained. The story does not create enough tension between the protagonists and the antagonists and the film does not build toward its conclusion so much as it dictates the climax based on action film conventions.
Bottom Line: Red is a fun movie. Although it isn’t especially original, the film does have good actors playing familiar and enjoyable roles and it makes for a satisfactory popcorn entertainment.
Episode: N/A (October 31, 2010)