Film Review: Red

Bruce Willis proves he is still a bona fide hero in this enjoyable action romp. Red provides enough high-octane sequences and amusing interactions to entertain throughout, but there is nothing that hasn’t been done before.

Retired CIA agent Frank Moses is enjoying his free time when he is the target of an assassination attempt. Moses decides to track down his own team to discover who is out to get him. As the group are attacked, they prove they can still hold their own, despite their advancing years…

Red keeps a steady pace; there is never a real lull in proceedings. There is nothing remarkable about the film, however. Robert Schwentke’s movie features actions and explosions, humorous banter, and the obligatory love story. None of this is particularly original; the action scenes are reminiscent of numerous films in the genre, and the humour seems to hinge almost entirely on the age of the protagonists.

Bruce Willis calls in his performance; there is nothing showcased in Red that we haven’t seen from him before. In the actors defense, however, the script does not really call for him to be stretched. Frank Moses is typical of many of the characters Willis has played before; a tough guy that overcomes despite being outnumbered, and protects those he cares about. In this case, his love interest is Mary-Louise Parker’s Sarah, who provides humour as the unwitting civilian caught up in the action because of her association with Moses.

John Malkovich is great as Marvin, Moses’ paranoid former colleague. His eccentricity is the perfect antidote for the conventional action hero Moses. Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren add some weight to the action, with Mirren playing up the refined English lady persona with her choice of vocation. Elsewhere, Brian Cox gives a robust performance as Russian agent Ivan, adding lightness to some of the film’s more tense moments.

Red‘s action set pieces are slick, and combine well with the thumping sound to produce enjoyable spectacles. The film is rated 12A, and most of the violence is in keeping with this certification. Nevertheless, Red features images of humans exploding. Although these shots are more cartoon-like than realistic, they may be quite shocking for younger viewers.

Red is an entertaining affair, but ultimately disappoints with its lack of imagination. Enjoyable enough, but not indelible in the slightest.

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