RED: Really Enjoyable Distraction or Royally Empty Disappointment?
RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) comes from little known German director Robert Schwentke. While his first few films aren’t widely know, recently he’s had the fortune of working with a lot of big names. His first American film was FLIGHTPLAN with Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard & Sean Bean. Upon that film’s success, he next did TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE with Eric Bana & Rachel McAdams. With RED, he had a venerable cornucopia of great actors like Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox (just to name a few). While Schwentke isn’t a stranger to action, this is his first comic book movie (based on the DC graphic novel), which may be why this differs from your average comic book / graphic novel movie.
With great actors, comes great responsibility. When you have so many award winning actors, you risk under-utilizing their talents and only casting them for name recognition. In the film Willis, Malkovich, Mirren, and Freeman are fierce black-ops retirees, most of which are targeted for death. Each of them, without over doing it, portray their characters with enough realism and depth to get you to care about them.
In addition to the the great acting, the film itself is paced very well. Often comic book action movies can have a bit of a staggered or stalled pace, but even though RED clocks in just under 2 hours, it gets through it without pause.
Overall, it’s a definite recommendation. It was great fun to watch, especially with a like-minded audience and well worth the money. While it probably won’t be winning any awards, its safe to say this was a Really Enjoyable Distraction.