Actually, it stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous and if this movie proves anything, it’s that they don’t make them like they used to. I say this for two reasons. There is the obvious one: the movie revolves around older and much more experienced agents battling it out against younger, less experienced agents. And the less obvious one: they don’t make actors and action stars like they used to.
My friend Wayne and I stayed out late on a school night to see RED (he’s a teacher so I’m not kidding when I say that). Partly because it’s based on a DC graphic novel of the same name, and partly because we hadn’t hung out since High School and it was an excellent reason to get together. Plus, if he had backed out he probably knows that I wouldn’t have taken “no” for an answer 😉 So thanks for seeing it with me Wayne!
On to movie reviewing…
The Good Guys: (I type this with a smirk on my face since all anyone in the movie does is kill people)
Bruce Willis is in fine form in his patented role as a professional badass playing cat and mouse with the people who done him wrong. I’m pretty sure it’s a character type that was invented for him.
Morgan Freeman has cancer again (ie The Bucket List) and is excited to get in one last hurrah. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to NOT like Morgan Freeman. He’s freakin’ awesome. This might just be my favorite role that John Malkovich has ever played. If he hadn’t been surrounded by a bevy of equally talented performers he probably would have stolen the show…inside of a pink pig stuffed animal.
I love Brian Cox. He was in X-Men. That is reason enough. In this movie he plays a ruskie convincingly. I prefer him with his beard and he does not disappoint here. The casting directors displayed a flash of brilliance when they brought in Mary-Louise Parker to play Bruce’s love interest. I am absolutely convinced that no one else could have played this role. She holds her own against the masters and displays some of the best comedic timing in the movie. See kids? Weed is a good thing. Just kidding. Don’t tell your parents I said that.
The piece de resistance (and a HUGE reason why I went to see this movie) is Helen Mirren. I think people forget that she’s played many a badass lady and focus on the fact that she’s older and British and must therefore be prim and proper. Bullshit. Granted, she arranges flowers and makes tea and crumpets, but the site of seeing her fire a semi-automatic while wearing a white ball gown will forever endear her to me.
The Bad Guys
Karl Urban has done an excellent job of ingraining himself in the nerd lexicon. From Lord of the Rings to Pathfinder to Star Trek, he seems to choose his projects based on how many conventions he can rely on as an older, washed up actor. Smart man. He’s the only “bad guy” you really care about. He starts off a cold and calculated drone of the system but his wits kick in and it becomes clear that he really just wants to do what’s right (side note: in my humble opinion, KU would have made an excellent Thor. Chris Hemsworth…aka Kirk’s ill-fated daddy…better step up).
Rebecca Pidgeon (who?) plays KU’s boss. She’s about as expressive as a brick wall but can work a power suit better than most. She twists KU’s balls in a bunch while pretending she’s a fellow, if slightly-higher-up drone.
Here it is, my 2nd movie review ever on HNG, and I’m writing about Richard Dreyfuss again. God bless the second wind, it has served him well. Richard Dreyfuss is the baddest of the bad and he REALLY wants you to know it. In fact, he helpfully reminds you of it in every one of his scenes. I can see why someone would get annoyed by that. Personally, I thought it was pretty funny. The rest of the baddies are nameless and forgettable with the exception of an explosive redhead. Faceless as they may be, they play their parts with gusto.
I was expecting the action and I was not disappointed (you’ve probably already seen my favorite shot in the trailers, the part where Bruce exits his stolen cop car mid-spin while firing his pistol).
However; what pleasantly surprised me was the humor and the gratuitous violence. We’ve already established that I am a big fan of both. The only time I wasn’t laughing was during the dramatic climax…a part I’m assuming was not intended to be laughed at. There were a few intended chuckles but I kind of missed the humor I’d become accustomed to during that part. In their defense, I’m not sure that it could have been incorporated properly without making it cheese-tastic ala Zoolander. I was also delighted at the body count and the manner in which they were dispatched. Who knew a bullet fired at an RPG would do that?? The RPG itself was a bit superfluous, but you won’t see me complaining about it.
All in all, well worth the $13 ticket price. Heck, I would even see it again in the theatre.
Riotous. Electrifying. Delightful.
4 out of 5 SCI-FIVES!