Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Red (Retired and Extremeley Dangerous)

The colourful title refers to the CIA alert level of Frank Moses, a former Black Ops agent played by Bruce Willis in this action comedy yarn. Also starring are Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and the always show-stealing John Malkovich along with the love interest provided by the stunning Mary Louise Parker.

It's an hour until we see any trace of Mirren. In the meantime we get to look at Parker a lot, and take a trip down Memory Lane with Willis as he gamefully reprises some of his most treasured Die Hard material. Frank's retired, but he's been calling Parker's Sarah Ross endlessly at work. She works for the company dealing with his pension plan, and he just likes the sound of her voice. Wait till he sees her.

When his house is invaded by CIA assassins Frank has to find out why he is wanted dead. Given her new connection to Frank, Sarah is no longer safe either and so Frank kidnaps her (calling it a rescue). And so begins the adventure as one by one Frank assembles his old team of agents to get to the bottom of the mess. Malkovich is delirious as Marvin Bogg, a man who has become paranoid through the enforced use of LSD, while Freeman plays along with the tired old notion that the black guy gets it first. He tells us early that he has stage four liver cancer, and it's a matter of when, not if, from that moment on.

Mirren has thus far managed to escape the madness but the trail of destruction finally leads to her and she is forced to swap the flower arranging and the 'routine' for a spot of sniping. Between the four old heads(along with former Russian agent Ivan played by the manic Brian Cox) they discover who's behind the plot. I say plot, it's all rather convoluted towards the end as it leads eventually on to the American vice president, running for the top job but soon to be running for his life.

RED is not to be taken seriously under any circumstances. If you enter the cinema expecting mindless and unlikely violence done cartoon-style with the odd wry quip thrown in you will have fun. If you go in expecting a serious political thriller you will be sorely let down.

In such circumstances, just stare at Parker.