DC Comics is home to lots of well-known heroes of the world, such as Superman and Batman. They're also home to some lesser-known heroes such as the senior citizens in Red. The premise for this is what R.E.D. stands for - Retired and Extremely Dangerous. Pretty funny idea. The film stars Bruce Willis, who doesn't seem old enough to be retired from anything, as a former CIA agent trying to make his lonely life in the world after walking away. He pines away for a social security phone worker, played by Mary Louise Parker (Weeds) and because of that, inexplicably gets involved in a government contractor cover-up for a mission he had decades ago. Huh? Right, it's confusing and doesn't make an ounce of sense. So he kidnaps his long distance girlfriend and solicits for help from his other retirement home friends, played by the genius John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich, ConAir), Morgan Freeman (Shawshank Redemption, Invictus), Helen Mirren (The Queen, State of Play) and Brian Cox (X-Men 2, Braveheart). The whole time he's being persued by bad guys Karl Urban (Lord of the Rings) and "hey!-it's-good-to-see-you-again" Richard Dreyfus (Jaws, What About Bob). This is an amazingly impressive cast! All of these people have done drama extremely well and have done comedy extremely well. I'm sure that's one reason why this illustrious cast signed on to do this film. Unfortunately, it falls flat...big time. Red does a horrible job of attempting to be a fun and light action film. It starts off right away with a whimsical score that you usually only hear on the worst sitcoms on TV. That sets the tone for the rest of the film which flies above any kind of logical plot without ever touching ground in a world that would help you understand what's going on. It's really too bad because the performances are pretty good. Malkovich gives one of the best comedic performances of his career as a crazed, ex-CIA agent that was a guinea pig for military testing. The action scenes are pretty great too, although you can tell they were watered down heavily to fit into a PG-13 violence guidelines. The issue is the ridiculous story, the idiotic involvement of Parker's character and how no one in the film seemed to notice that. I place the blame on director Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler's Wife) for not picking up on that. But considering how bad his last movie was, I'd say he's not a "big picture" kinda guy. Red probably seemed like a great idea and an even better comic book; but on the big screen, even with a cast that would make most Academy members soil their pants, it's not very good.
Red (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: D+