Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Warren Ellis, Cully Hamner, Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Runtime: 111 Minutes
Release Date: 1/26/2011
Frank Moses (Willis) is a single, retired and lonely ex-government employee who occupies his time, and keeps his sanity, by exercising, growing plants from avocado seeds, and calling into the government pension process center to report his monthly pension check MIA to Sarah Ross (Parker), the call center agent that repeatedly assists Frank with a replacement check every month. Sarah lives a similar existence in that she finds her life to be boring, lonely and longs for an exciting adventure that she only reads about in her romance novels.
After sometime of this monthly ritual, Frank finally decides to make the trek to Kansas City to meet Sarah, the only problem is that Frank’s plans are suddenly thrown out the window when a squad of assassins are dispatched to Frank’s house to take him out as he has become a risk. See, Frank isn’t the typical retired government employee. In fact, he is a retired agent for the CIA now referred to as a RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) and evidently, he was one of the best.
Frank wastes little time dispatching the invaders and makes his way to Kansas City post haste to protect Sarah from a similar fate as she is now undoubtedly marked for extermination for simply talking to Frank. Agent William Cooper (Urban) is put on the case and is now on the hunt for the former super agent only to continuously measure up short of Frank’s skill and cunning. Now realizing that he can’t do this alone, Frank heads to New Orleans and begins recruiting more former CIA operatives, REDs, that he has worked with. Joe Matheson (Freeman) lives in a retirement home and is sick from cancer, but that doesn’t stop him from helping his old partner. Marvin Boggs (Malkovich) is an ex-agent who was the subject of many CIA experiments back in the day and is not only dagerous, he's out of his mind. Finally, Victoria (Mirren) is an ex-MI6 agent and former ally of Franks that has never missed a target. On their own, each one of these ex-agents was the best at what they did. Together they are unstoppable.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=5792[/img]RED was a graphic novel that was written by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. I have not had the chance to read it and actually had not heard of it until the movie was being filmed, but it did make for an extremely entertaining film. For the most part, the cast delivered standard performances. Bruce Willis plays Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman plays a slightly colder version Lucious Fox from the Batman movies however; John Malkovich and Helen Mirren are an absolute hoot to watch. When Marvin gets started he is a one man annihilation force and is convinced that the world is out to kill him. Victoria was the best ‘wet work’ operative in the game. She’s cold, calculating and extremely patient and Mirren plays it perfectly.
It seems as if 2010 was the year for team oriented action movies. With such films as ‘The Losers’, ‘The A-Team’ and ‘The Expendables’, ‘RED’ came in at the end a gave an entertaining look at a genre that was tapped heavy last year. I found the film to be extremely entertaining and fun, but that’s not to say it didn’t have its flaws. I thought the movie was fairly well paced, but there was a bit of a lag getting it off the ground as the character development and plot were front loaded so it took a little time in the beginning. Additionally, I was expecting more comedy to it. There were some very funny moments and the film as a whole was very light hearted, but I thought there should have been some more one-liners, etc.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language.
The video was impressive, not reference material but impressive none the less. Blacks were inky and shadow delineation gave great separation between grays and blacks in the night scenes. Colors were plentiful and vibrant throughout and softly muted in some of the scenes where there was an overcast feeling such as outdoor winter scenes in the snow, etc. Flesh tones were warm and natural looking throughout the movie and detail and clarity were near perfect the whole time.
The ever changing landscapes were a great site for the eyes as the story moved from Kansas City to New York to New Orleans and Florida. Swampy areas were lush and green while the New Orleans streets popped with color and architectural detail. The cold wintery and weathered look of Chicago and New York were equally well represented providing a very large and well rounded pallet of hues to look at throughout the movie.
For the most part, the DTS-HD-Master Audio provided for RED was extremely impressive save for one scene. In the beginning when Frank’s house is being attacked by the CIA operatives, there is a line of shooters with automatic rifles that descends on the house. When the scene cuts from the line of the shooters to the front of the house and places the shooters behind the viewer, the gunfire still erupts from the front speakers. I found this one detail annoying and a hugely missed opportunity for some great surround.
That being said, the rest of the movie was very engaging. Gunfire was impactful and the channel separation was superbly performed as shooters moved from left to right and even behind as the camera panned around the scene. Explosions were roaring and deep as RPG’s and grenades blasted the set pieces apart. There was a healthy dose of love given to the surrounds in general as ambient sound could be heard subtly enough not to distract the viewer yet with enough presence to be noticed. Dialogue was clear and concise even when presented during the action sequences and nuanced sounds came across with the utmost clarity. I found this audio presentation to be very well rounded and a pleasure to listen to.
Thanks typ44q for pointing out that the bare bones $12.99 bluray for sale on Amazon and at Best Buy DOES NOT contain a DTS-HD-Master Audio presentation. Dolby Digital 5.1 only.
No Digital Copy or DVD Copy for a "Special Edition"? Weak...
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Access Red: Immersive 6-part interactive feature including pop up trivia, videos, interviews and more!
- Audio commentary w/ retired CIA field agent Robert Baer
As I said earlier, I very much enjoyed RED and found the story to be very entertaining and well executed by the actors and filmmakers that brought this graphic novel to life. Save for a few brief moments when the story was getting off the ground, I really believe that most viewers will find it entertaining as well. I will be buying it because ‘RED’ also strikes me as the type of movie that will get better as time goes on, not unlike the characters that brought the story to life. Highly recommended. Until next time campers, have a good day and in case I don't see ya later, a good afternoon, a good evening, and a good night! :wave: