Sunday, 10 March 2013

Film Review: RED (2010)

RED - poster Director: Robert Schwentke
Writers: Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber (screenplay), Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner (graphic novel)
Running time: 111 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Action/Comedy/Crime
UK Release date: 22nd October 2010

Watched on DVD Sunday 10th March 2013.


I waited for quite a long time for this one to turn up in the TV listings but alas it hasn’t yet. Being a resourceful sort I decided to check out the price of the DVD and, deeming it low enough, I duly bought said disc. Now, having gone to all that trouble, I’m glad to report it was worth the effort. It may never win any awards, but it’s very entertaining and everything ‘The Expendables’ isn’t. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

RED - 6 Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is a retired CIA agent; he lives alone and one of his few pleasures is to chat to the girl at the pension’s office, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker). All is peaceful until one night a team goes into his house and tries to kill him. Of course Frank escapes and picks up Sarah en-route to New Orleans. With the attempt on Frank’s life a failure, back at the CIA, Cynthia Wilkes (Rebecca Pidgeon) puts agent William Cooper (Karl Urban) on the case. By the way, it’s “off the books”. Frank turns to his old contacts for help; first Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman) who points him in the direction of a murdered reporter. Having discovered a list of names, he next contacts Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich). More information brings in the Russians in the guise of Ivan Simanov (Brian Cox); and finally there’s Victoria (Helen Mirren). Piecing the parts of the puzzle together there’s a connection to a massacre in Guatemala and the only one left who can identify the man responsible is Alexander Dunning (Richard Dreyfuss). But can they get him to talk? And if they do, who will be their next target? I guess that’s enough for now. Oh, before I close this section I’d like to give a mention for Ernest Borgnine who plays Henry, The Records Keeper at the CIA; it’s always a pleasure to see him on screen.

RED - 8 I must say this film does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s brash, explosive and it also has some humour splattered about in there. I did like Bruce Willis in this one; some of his wise cracks put me in mind of his character David Addison in “Moonlighting” (an old TV show for those too young to remember it). I loved John Malkovich as the, almost paranoid, member of the team; he added some great comic moments. Helen Mirren was great (as ever), as was Richard Dreyfuss as the bad guy and Brian Cox. Also a mention fro Karl Urban who played his role with great aplomb; he’ll go far I’m sure. As to the film; well I enjoyed many aspects of it although I did find the age difference between Willis and Parker a tad creepy. Other than that, bring on the sequel! I found it a lot of fun and everything ‘The Expendables’ isn’t; well worth the price of the disc.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.9/10.

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 128,034 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 61: (Based on 37 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

RED - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 72/100 (based on 193 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 72/100 (based on 113,777 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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[first lines]
Frank Moses: [on the phone] 943-66-2291. Pension Services, please.
Woman: Thank you, Mr. Moses, please hold for your representative.

Sarah Ross: Get back. Go away. Stay away from me! Is that my bag?
Frank Moses: Yeah.
Sarah Ross: You packed it?
Frank Moses: Yes.
Sarah Ross: D' D' Did you vacuum?
Frank Moses: A little yeah, it was messy.

Marvin Boggs: Do you know what's wrong with this country?
Sarah Ross: They all are trying to kill us?
Marvin Boggs: Exactly!

RED - 7 Henry, The Records Keeper: Frank Moses was one of the most effective black op agents we've ever had. He retired drug-lords, terrorists. Hell, he toppled governments. Yeah. He was truly gifted.
William Cooper: Why was he retired?
Henry, The Records Keeper: He got old. Then some thumb-sucker came along and tagged him "RED".
William Cooper: Red?
Henry, The Records Keeper: Yeah, RED. R-E-D, "Retired, Extremely Dangerous".

Victoria: [pleasantly] In all the years I've known Francis, I've never seen him like this. So if you break his heart, I will kill you. And bury you body in the woods.
Sarah Ross: Wow. Okay.

Ivan Simanov: [Riding in the car after everything is over. To Moses] You still owe me favor.
Victoria: [Getting pissed off at Ivan] Oh Ivan!
[turns to the others]
Victoria: His timing is terrible!
Ivan Simanov: Just a tiny little nuclear problem in Moldova.

(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:
(Currently publicising ‘RED 2’)

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