Red: Rated “PG-13” (111 Minutes)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
I hadn’t been reading the Warren Ellis-scripted DC comic about a retired CIA spook who has been marked RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) and tagged for assassination by his own agency. Needless to say, it turns out that they are correct, but for all the wrong reasons. From what I’ve been told the film is little, if at all, like the comic. Interestingly enough, that mattered little to this funnybook/film reviewer, as the film it self was wildly entertaining, as it neatly balances action-packed sequences, with comedic, winky bits that expertly blend into a most-excellent package.
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) was the best of the best, he us, as the film was ed to be a wet works agent, toppled governments for the Agency, and then has the bad luck to, well, grow old. So he was put out to pasture, and now he is not very happy in his forced retirement. So he spends his time tearing up his pension check so that he can call his case worker (Mary-Louise Parker) and chart with her while she issues him a new check.
Then a wet works team shows up one night and shoots the crap out of Frank’s house. As it turns out, even retired he is still better than them at their job, and he manages to not only take them out, but escape into the night. What this does, is set off a cross-country chase that involves a number of other retired CIA operatives (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren), Moses’ case worker, and an old Company op that went sour.
The film veers back and forth from slam-bang action to sardonic mirth as it’s PG-13 keeps the film from becoming too bloody or dangerous. Sure this is a pseudo-light-hearted romp through the world of spys, counter-intelligence, and high-powered shoot-em-ups. Unlike it’s immediate DC comics-to-film predecessor (the Losers which blew chunks) this film is entertainingly slick, and quirkily off-beat enough to keep your attention all the way through. Most definitely a good ride.
Then when you’re done, do your local comic shop owner a favor, and stop in to check out how Warren Ellis wrote the actual comicbook.
__________ This entire article is copyright (c) 2010 Freelance Ink, All rights reserved. It cannot be reprinted without specific, written permission from the author.
Robert J. Sodaro has been writing professionally for over 20 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous publications, as well as on the web; currently his reviews appear on the Web here and in print in The Sound.
I just learned that the website where I’ve been posting movie reviews for the past five or so years has (finally) gone dark (we were expecting it for the past eight or 10 months, or so it really isn’t that much of a surprise), so that means, for the time being at least, I’ll be adding my film reviews to this site (at least until I can move them elsewhere).
That being said, I give you the latest review I’ve written:
Cop Out: Rated “R” (110 Minutes) Release Date: Feb 26, 2010 Starring: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Seann William Scott, Adam Brody, Jason Lee Directed by: Kevin Smith
I’m a big fan of Bruce Willis, and I’m not at all embarrassed to admit it. I like his big, over-the-top, smart-ass, blockbuster, shoot-‘em-up popcorn flick. I like his whip-smart, screwball comedies, and hey, I even liked Hudson Hawk. I did not like Cop out. Bruce seemed to mug his way through the film rolling his eyes, and reacting to the sophomoric ramblings of Tracy Morgan, his co-conspirator in this travesty of entertainment.
Willis & Morgan are Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges, a pair of NYC cops who are celebrating thief ninth anniversary as partners, who are ostensibly tracking down some drug dealers, but the bust goes array and they wind up suspended, Then Jimmy learns that his daughter’s wedding is going to cost him some $50,000 only he doesn’t have it, so he decides to sell a rare, one-of-a-kind, baseball card, he inherited from his father, which subsequently gets stolen.
Needless to say, once they set out to locate the stolen card, they wind up back on the trail of the dope dealer who happens to be a merciless, memorabilia-obsessed23q/ gangster. These two play an unlikely odd couple of cops, who shoot and yuck their way through the bad guys with equal aplomb, only neither the jokes are funny, nor the random violence all that violent.. So, anyway, Jimmy is the veteran detective who’s missing collectible is his only hope to pay for his daughter’s upcoming wedding, while Paul is his “partner-against-crime” whose is more preoccupied with the thought that his wife might be sleeping with their single neighbor.
Still, like I say, the film, while not entirely without merit, it simply isn’t as funny, cleaver, or engaging as its producers intended it to be, Still, it doesn’t completely suck, nor is it entirely funny, not his best, even though it is in heavy rotation for his worse. Skip it (if it is still even in the theaters) and get it on Netflix if you must, but avoid paying full fare for this turkey.
I recently learned that my film column is (surprisingly) still up and running, so you can read this review there.
__________ This entire article is copyright (c) 2010 Freelance Ink, All rights reserved.