February 26th, 2011

Rogue's Tattoo

Movie review: RED

No spoilers.


We all know Red's basic story from a million action movies: An action hero is targeted, he pulls together old friends to help him survive and get the bastards on his tail, and action results.

However, Red is not the basic action movie thanks to a series of clever twists on the basic formula. The "old friends" in Red are, in fact, old, late 50s to 80s, including the obligitory Hot Woman With Gun (Helen Mirren), which is a choice that makes my feminist heart so happy I could kiss everyone involved. Our hero (Bruce Willis) is crap with women, ruining the standard James Bond smoothness. The sidekick (John Malkovitch), instead of being rational and witty, is a screaming lunatic so our hero must stabilize him. The hero's love interest (Mary-Louise Parker) is in her forties, has personality, and loves jumping into danger. And two of the "old people" get to fall in love, something action movies seem mostly determined to pretend never happens.

None of these deviations from the Standard Action Plot would have worked, however, if Red's script sucked or the acting hadn't brought life to the eccentric characters. Thankfully, the script's humor, both wacky and dark, is actually funny, the action scenes are exciting, and with actors like Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman, line delivery was perfect.

Red's only failing is a sadly predictable scene with Morgan Freeman's character. Such creative writing falling back on the oldest cliche in the book for Black Guy Sidekick like Red does at one point was rather disappointing.

However, Red is funny, exciting, very well acted entertainment. Overall, I think it's the best action movie I've seen in years.


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