Red (Summit Entertainment, PG-13)

The film, directed by Robert Schwentke, is loaded with explosions and one-liners. He sets the stage appropriately by giving Willis the tools needed to do his thing.

Bruce Willis can still tear it up. The action icon may be bald now, but he still packs every bit as much of a wallop as he has for the past two decades. Unlike some of his Expendables co-stars, he has never needed a comeback, because he has always been at the top of his game.

 
In Red, an action/comedy, Willis plays retired CIA agent Frank Moses. His bland, suburban life consists of yard work and reading romance paperbacks. His only joy is in phoning money handler Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) at her Kansas City call center and daydreaming that one day they can live a normal life together. When Frank gets an unexpected visit from assassins, he escapes and takes off to protect Sarah and find out who wants him dead. He also brings along his old CIA buddies, including rest home resident Joe (Morgan Freeman), dead shot Victoria (Helen Mirren), and paranoid survivalist Marvin (John Malkovich), also targets for assassins. Together they trek cross-country to unravel the conspiracy as they dodge bullets, blow up bad guys and chase cars at high speeds along the way.
 
The film, directed by Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, The Time Traveler’s Wife), is loaded with explosions and one-liners. He sets the stage appropriately by giving Willis the tools needed to do his thing.
 
There is also a plethora of talent in the supporting cast. Malkovich is especially hilarious as a former agent who had been administered LSD during government mind-control experiments. He can explode into a psychotic rage and take down bad guys in the process. Mirren and Freeman are charming in their roles and add a level of prestige. Karl Urban shines as an agent assigned to stop Moses and his crew. Ernest Borgnine, Brian Cox, and Richard Dreyfuss (fresh off his cameo in Piranha 3-D) round out one of the most eclectic ensembles in recent memory.
 
The script, by brothers Erich and Jon Hoeber (Whiteout), is an adaptation of the graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. It does a great job of setting up the dynamic between Willis and Parker as odd characters and potential love interests, which contributes a great deal to the film’s draw. However, as things move along and become more action driven, the love story thread unravels and their relationship isn’t developed as well as it could have been.
 
It is fitting for Bruce Willis to play a retired tough guy. At 55 years old Willis, like his character, will soon be a senior citizen, but he has no interest in living out his golden years in a conventional way. We know his days as biggest Hollywood badass will eventually come to an end, but thankfully he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. We can happily look forward to Bruce Willis kicking ass for many years to come. | Justin Tucker
 

 

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