This Week at the Movies: “Red”



It’s pretty easy to visualize the standard action hero in your mind. You think of someone like Rambo. A man covered in sweat and dirt with rip­pling muscles holding a gun that no human should be physically able to carry. It’s all too easy to find these stereotypical characters in the pantheon of agents of destruction. However, it always doesn’t have to be that way. Enter Red, directed by Robert Schwentke and written for the screen by Jon and Erich Hoeber. This odd little action film takes the guns away from the youngsters and gives them to the old timers. And yes, old people with guns are as awesome as they sound.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) seems to be just your average retiree. He get’s up in the morning, reads books and does little chores around the house. He has a budding relationship with his pension officer that he speaks to over the phone. In most ways he has a pretty average life with very little excitement. However, that all changes very quickly when a squad of CIA hit men show up to his house to obliterate Moses in a stream of bullets. They are no match for Moses though, as he quickly dispatches them. Turns out he is the single greatest black ops agent that has ever existed. The story continues with Moses uncovering the reason behind his attempted assassination by reassembling his old team from when his was still in the agency. In short, the story is nothing short of ridiculous. There are so many fight scenes, explosions and completely illogical plot twists, it’s hard to think that this movie is somehow grounded in reality. But ridiculous is necessarily a bad thing. Red is entertaining in every way. The action is so over the top that it’s laughable, and the movie actually wants that. In many ways the movie is comedy and never once takes itself seriously, even as an action movie. Mix that together with a cast of some of the most prestigious actors and actresses in Hollywood today, and you have a movie that can carry itself without sacrificing quality for comedy.

Technically speaking, the movie is quite well done. Red stays true to its graphic novel roots, angling the camera shots and editing them together in such a way to create the feeling of changing from frame to frame as you turn the pages of a comic book. It’s a nice effect that creates the comic book feel without having to use over stylized CGI animation. The fight scenes are also excellently choreographed. An action movie wouldn’t be anything without some awesome hand-to-hand combat and this movie certainly isn’t lacking. It just shows how Bruce Willis can still kick some ass even after he’s gone over the hill. The other problem I can really see is that the gun effects are extremely unrealistic. Hollywood has always had a habit of exaggerating the ammo capacity of automatic weapons, but sometimes it’s just a little out of hand. Very cool, but very unrealistic.

While not a perfect movie, Red is definitely worth seeing. With its blend of comedy, action and old people, it provides an entertaining experience that won’t disappoint. It’s definitely directed toward a certain audience, i.e. young males and your grandpa, but there’s enough going on in this movie to war­rant a try from everybody. If midterms are getting you down and need a little break to reinvigorate your mind, go see this movie and enjoy the ride.