Red (2010)

Rated PG-13. Our ratings: V-4 ; L- 2; S/N-2 . Running time: 1 hour 53 min.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil will not sojourn with you.
The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
Psalm 5:4-6

Three of our R.E.D.s fighting for their lives.

2010 Summit Entertainment

This is another young adult male fantasy derived from a comic book, so I did not expect much from it, nor was I disappointed. The main reason for seeing this, preferably at a cheap seat theater, is to watch a delightful cast cope with a less than inspiring script. It is another tale of heroic individuals battling Evil out of control government agents—from the CIA, which now seems to be the whipping boy of the makers of adventure films.

All of our heroes are R.E.D.s, an acronym: Retired and Extremely Dangerous. And boy are they ever! No matter how many times Bruce Willis’s Frank Moses is hit, slammed and hurled against walls and furniture, he’s up and at ‘em again. And you can shoot Helen Mirren’s Victoria in the abdomen, staining her gorgeous formal gown red, and next thing you know she’s up again firing a 16mm caliber machine gun at the bad guys. Ole Morgan Freeman is in a nursing home dying of liver cancer when Moses calls him back into action, so you know who is going to be the first to bite the dust at the climax. There’s also John Malkovich, and best of all, 93-year-old Ernest Borgnine is in a few scenes as the record keeper at CIA HQ. He is only too glad to cooperate with Moses.

And I suppose I should mention Mary-Louise Parker, a caller at the pension agency whom Moses has formed a relationship via the telephone. When the bad guys come gunning for everyone connected with a 1980’s covert mission in Guatamala, Moses kidnaps her for her own safety, and…Well there’s lots of chases, bruising fights (or at least they should be, but none of the good guys seem to show it), hails of bullets from the bad guys who almost never hit anybody, and plenty of explosions. Plenty of mindless escapism here.

In the unlikely event that f you are drawn into a group discussion of this film, check out the generic questions on pp.54-56 of my Faith & Film.