The first thing you must know is, yes, Bruce Willis really is old enough to head up a team of retired CIA agents. IMDB pegs him at 55 years old, but actors have been known to fudge the numbers from time to time. The remarkable thing I noticed while watching Red was, for a man his age, Willis is holding up remarkably well. He hasn’t aged since the release of Unbreakable in 2000 and thank you for not slapping a wig on a bald man’s head.
But enough about Mr. Willis. The film opens with his’ character, Frank Moses, a retired black-ops agent now living a quiet life in the suburbs. Moses life most resembles that of a widower: he’s lonely, he’s lost the only thing that kept him busy and he can’t relate to anyone around him. The opening ten minutes of the movie are masterful in introducing us to both his character and Sarah Parker’s (Mary-Louise Parker). Once the action does begin, it never stops. The writers of the screenplay, Jon and Erich Hoeber, have done a great job adapting a graphic novel, which makes me wonder what went wrong with their previous effort Whiteout.
The gimmick of the supporting cast is that they are also past their prime. The John Malkovich (Secretariat) comeback train keeps chugging along, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t the actor most people see over the weekend and end up raving about around the water cooler. While Morgan Freeman does a good job with the role given to him, it feels like a glorified cameo with the associated paycheck. I haven’t been following his divorce case closely but the alimony payments must be killer. And speaking of paycheck actors, the most blatant will-act-for-food senior performer of our time, Richard Dreyfuss, shows up to play Dick Cheney.
If there is a miscast role it is Karl Urban (Star Trek) as William Cooper, the CIA agent in charge of bringing Moses’ crew down. It’s not that Urban does a bad job, but the role doesn’t ask him to do much other than scowl from time to time. He is supposed to be the young upstart trying to take down the old guard, but he’s 40 years old and looks it. Every year there are dozens of movies where studios shoehorn CW Network stars into roles that should star actors in their 30s. Here we finally have a role that is custom made for an actor from Gossip Girl or whatever, and they blow it.
Summit Entertainment has a potential franchise on their hands with Red. If you decide to check out Red, be prepared to have fun. Between this and Jackass 3D, this is one of the better opening weekends we’ve had in a long time.
Watch the Red Movie Trailer