Sunday, 24 October 2010



12A, 111 Minutes. Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, Mary-Louise Parker & Karl Urban. Director: Robert Schwentke. Writer: Jon & Erich Hoeber

Morgan Freeman & Co prove their far from 'The Bucket List'.

Cast member Morgan Freeman poses at a special screening of the movie Red at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California, October 11, 2010. The movie opens in the U.S. on October 15. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni(UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PROFILE)

Who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks? Bruce Willis may be 55 but he's still 'Die Hard' and Helen Mirren may be 65, but she's still fancied by a fair few men who wouldn't like to admit it (not me of course). Also Morgan Freeman may be 73 but that doesn't stop him from acting like a 25 year old and as for John Malkovich, he may be 56, but he's still...well John Malkovich.

So to the movies aim or not, it's no surprise that these guys are drafted into a high octane action film, because they can still do it. Well Helen Mirren's casting may be a surprise but hey, her majesty will do as she pleases thank you very much. With 'RED' and Willis' other movie 'The Expendables' this year it seems that in 2010 the old dog really is having his day.

'RED' is yet another comic book classic from the DC machine, but a whole different read all together. 'RED' is about four ex CIA agents who come out of retirement, not that their worried about their pension, (as if these lot have to) their more concerned about what they know and who knows this (the CIA is never portrayed in a positive light in the movies).

It all starts with Bruce Willis who plays ex CIA agent Frank Moses (to be 'Frank' how many times is Bruce given a name like this in movies), who isn't really settling down into suburban life until his old, less boring life catches up with him. You know the deal, bullets, bodies, little more explanation then someone wants him dead. So with a first date in tow (if I'm honest Bruce comes on a little too strong here) Moses realises that he's not the only one targeted and then tries to get the band back together. With their lives on the line the four must reach into their old bag of tricks and avoid assassination, all whilst banding together on the run.

At one point Morgan Freeman is dressed like this fab four are about to join Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club, and just like those four boys from Liverpool this gang stands the test of time. Morgan oozes cheek, charm and cool all at the same time. While Bruce is on typical stellar form and Malkovich is at his formidable funniest in years, still crazy and stir crazy from all that time alone with his conspiracy theories. It's Helen Mirren who steals the show however, perfect in a role that for a more serious film would seem miscast, but not in this picture. She's perfect with a gun and I was wrong with what I said about her before. I'M IN LOVE!

These four corners of 'RED' don't just bring the film together, the middle supporting cast is on top form too. Richard Dreyfuss seems to be back on the map and his acting direction in this film is hilarious, while Scotsman Brian Cox is effortlessly great yet again amongst the Hollywood highlands. Karl Urban (who's career is moving at light speed at the moment), is great as the CIA agent hot on the gangs trail. He's slick, intimidating but has an integrity about him all at the same time. Not your typical villain, 'Star Trek's' Leornad McCoy shows he has the bones for acting. There is also some great support work from Malkovich's favourite pig, which you shouldnt turn your snout up at.

So will these 'other guys' break into the headquarters of the CIA and settle old scores and remove that price on their head? Well your going to have to check this out for yourself, but one thing you can bank on is a guarantee of popcorn action and classic comedy. Sure this film is a little throwaway, a little pop corny and a little forgettable in the post summer, pre-fall Cinema season. Still however as much as this film might get lost amongst other blockbusters it's still one of the most enjoyable films of the year.

The action is unbelievably good, emphasis on 'unbelievable' and it is perculiarly funny, emphasis on 'peculiar'. The direction is mapped out well too, includings some great cuts between scenes and different cities, complete with their classic 'Greetings From' post cards, 'The Boss' would be proud. This DC picture is a refreshing change from the usual comic adaptations. Not that it's normally a bad thing, but if you didn't know any better this movie doesn't feel like a DC picture. Thus showing that the franchise has more super tricks up their sleeve.

Overall all though 'RED' isn't the highest rater this year, in terms of guilty pleasures this film scores high however. Think of it as 9 'Law Abiding Citizens' out of ten. This is one movie that shouldn't make a loss at the box office. All the principal actors in this film are tried and tested, veteran talents and it's elementary that this produces nothing short of great performances, amazing action and large laughs. You'll already know before the first bullet is shot that this sure fire, hit of a film is going to be something enjoyable. You can take that as 'Red'.TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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