Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Red" (2010) - Movie Review

When a hit team to eliminate retired CIA black op Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) shatters his house without an iota of smartness in their attack plan, you know what you are in for. Bullets do not rain but flood. So does the cast. If you get the top talent in the business of serious film making and put them in a comedy action piece, you realize they want to do this film for fun. There is a dire need for unwinding film but still it has to live up. “Red” has veteran actors sleepwalking the roles and it is not that they are best at it but the film is an easy exercise and the fun gets a little routine and we see past the cast. It falls apart.

CIA agents especially the kind “Red” has are the best of the best as they survived the job and are alive. Frank as it turns out is alone and tears up his retirement cheque repeatedly to talk with a customer service agent Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). Joe (Morgan Freeman) is spending his last days ogling young nurse’s back as he waits for the succumbing to liver cancer. John Malkovich as Marvin is the edgy paranoid freak constantly on vigilance to survive. Then the young chap from the CIA Cooper (Karl Urban) hunts for Frank. You get Helen Mirren at her most sexiest form with weapons and lipsticks. There will not be much blood as PG-13 made sure of it while there will be countless rounds of fires shot without thought or indecision all over the place.

“Red” is the film for my lazy Sunday evenings but I would feel terrible about it once I am done. It is like eating junk food till we choke and bleed our brains for that horrible mistake. Well, it is not quite as horrible though. “Red” does carry a charm because of its cast and especially to see Malkovich giving out a funny version of his devilishly twisted Mitch Leary from “In the line of Fire”. Freeman, Willis, Mirren and even the poor Brian Cox have nothing more to offer than their presence but then again that is all they have been asked.

I thought that the insanity of the bullet shooting has died. I am not saying the regular not shooting at a character but everywhere else. I am talking about the army of mannequins with guns shooting straight and sweeping on the object that obstructs them from their target. It is what makes major part of “Red”. It is not parody or homage or comedic. It is to set a tone and that I can take but to use it throughout the film is cheap.

Having good time at “Red” is the cloud of illusion. If you are looking to unwind and not care for the film, why do you want to go for a bad one? Why do not make a reasonable decision and pick something wherein there is a responsibility in film making rather than throwing away money in the assumption of enjoyment of their own? I think many will point out that I do this day in and day out while people go for “entertainment” but please do some justice to that taste of yours and give more credit to yourself. You owe it yourself.

I like fun, frolic and nonsense which takes itself seriously as a film. A film can be a chaotic circus show but it should see itself with something more than a business and accommodate its audience’s brain for some accomplishment of a film well done with full effort. “Red” has characters who speak of love and emotion which is hard to imagine. Take Marvin for example who appears not much is happening in his life other than consistently looking for helicopters and satellite trying to kill him. He has lost his mind and he comes ack to real world when violence requires him. The need for Frank to have a normal life purely becomes old age other than a reason for his connection to Sarah more than a group of romance trashy novels read.

Director Robert Schwentke got a cast that no one could ask for and it is not an obligating to provide a serious drama but use them of their full capability. The concept is the best part in this film wherein the killing machines have evolved into a phase of life that has termed them to rest and wait till they hit the ground. There are funny grandpa references (they dare not call Helen Mirren grandma!) but “Red” does not go beyond that in terms of character or comic relief.

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