Red is based on a graphic novel written by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. I’ve not have the opportunity to read it. I’m not sure how those who have came to the conclusion that an amalgam of every bad action movie ever would be better if it was led by a cast of geriatrics. Not that I have anything against the age group, some of my best friends are in that age group. I can understand Robert Schwentke’s desire to direct a cast made up of Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and more. So I’ll forgive him. He is, after all, coming off the nearly universally panned The Time Traveler’s Wive. But it’s slightly more confusing what drew scriptwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber to the project.
The cast is made up of some astounding actors. That can’t be denied. It’s sprinkled with mediocre performances as well (stick to selling weed in the ‘burbs, Mary-Louise Parker), and some of the better talented is restricted by a script that is reminiscent of that viral Chris Klein video showcasing his dialog in Street Fighter). Our heroes are retired CIA agents coded RED (retired and extremely dangerous, an example of the film’s wit) by their former employer. They go on the lam and plan their retaliation.
Parts of the film were inspired by Timor Bekmambetov’s Wanted, although not executed as seemlessly. In other sections, directive style was ignored almost completely. Major characters are willing to sacrifice their lives (and do!) for next to no reason. The crew has mad skills went convenient, and are completely lacking when it’s not. The best example of this is Ms. Mirren’s character who’s meant to be one of the best ‘wet work’ agents in the history of the CIA, meaning she’s good with guns. But for a large span of the films climactic moments, she can’t hit her target twenty yards in front of her while using a stationary machine gun bigger than a Geo.
This, simply put, is not a good movie. But it will still delight others, like the group of senior citizens enjoying their discount at the same screening as me.