Saturday, October 30, 2010

Seeing Red

Red: Rated “PG-13” (111 Minutes)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban
Directed by: Robert Schwentke

I hadn’t been reading the Warren Ellis-scripted DC Comic / Wildstorm about a retired CIA spook who has been marked RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) and tagged for assassination by his own agency. Needless to say, it turns out that they are correct, but for all the wrong reasons. From what I’ve been told the film is little, if at all, like the comic. Interestingly enough, that mattered little to this funnybook/film reviewer, as the film it self was wildly entertaining, as it neatly balances action-packed sequences, with comedic, winky bits that expertly blend into a most-excellent package.

I got to see a free, advance screening of this fillm. Thanks Mark!
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) was the best of the best, he us, as the film was ed to be a wet works agent, toppled governments for the Agency, and then has the bad luck to, well, grow old. So he was put out to pasture, and now he is not very happy in his forced retirement. So he spends his time tearing up his pension check so that he can call his case worker (Mary-Louise Parker) and chart with her while she issues him a new check.

Then a wet works team shows up one night and shoots the crap out of Frank’s house. As it turns out, even retired he is still better than them at their job, and he manages to not only take them out, but escape into the night. What this does, is set off a cross-country chase that involves a number of other retired CIA operatives (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren), Moses’ case worker, and an old Company op that went sour.

The film veers back and forth from slam-bang action to sardonic mirth as it’s PG-13 keeps the film from becoming too bloody or dangerous. Sure this is a pseudo-light-hearted romp through the world of spys, counter-intelligence, and high-powered shoot-em-ups. Unlike it’s immediate DC comics-to-film predecessor (the Losers which blew chunks) this film is entertainingly slick, and quirkily off-beat enough to keep your attention all the way through. Most definitely a good ride.

Then when you’re done, do your local comic shop owner a favor, and stop in to check out how Warren Ellis wrote the actual comicbook.
This entire article is copyright (c) 2010 Freelance Ink, All rights reserved. It cannot be reprinted without specific, written permission from the author. 

Robert J. Sodaro has been writing professionally for over 20 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous publications, as well as on the web; currently his reviews appear on the Web and in print in The Sound.

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