RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous) (2010)

The idea isn't new. A bunch of old, retired guys have to get back into the game to right a wrong that has either been done long ago or was only recently uncovered. It's Space Cowboys with less space and more guns.

We follow Bruce Willis as he is enjoying retirement in Ohio. He has a long distance, phone only relationship with a girl who handles pensions, as he routinely tears up his checks so that he can call her to complain. Inevitably, something happens that makes him come out of retirement. Specifically, a strike team sweeps in to attack his home in a loud and direct assault. It kind of reminds me of the recent video game, Call of Duty: Ghosts, in the way it handles subtle operations.

Fortunately, Bruce comes off as young enough to be the romantic interest of Mary-Louise Parker, the girl on the other end of the phone. He handles the role like... well, like he handles every role he's ever in. He's supposed to be the good guy who is willing to get his hands dirty, finds himself in difficult situations, and gets through them with a clever wisecrack.

In fact, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and Richard Dreyfuss all play roles they are accustomed to playing. They don't bring any real acting into the movie, as this is not really about that. I mean, it's like expecting a complicated story in Expendables or Expendables 2. The fact is, this is an action movie designed to bring forward the action and the special effects more than anything. It's a popcorn movie with reliable, familiar actors with their predictable characters for us to just sit back an enjoy.

There's not really a reason to think too hard about the storyline, and there is even less call to think about the special effects. Grenades, for example, do not explode simply because they come in contact with a human. A bullet fired from a gun, impacting a rocket, will not cause a backblast that will engulf the person who fired it. The effects are cool, and the implementation is humorous, but realism is not what this movie is about.

John Malkovich gets to play the unhinged, weapons-loving paranoid guy, and he does an outstanding job. His character is written well, and he plays it perfectly. Brian Cox's role is a relatively small one, and his Russian accent is pretty pitiful. Still, he puts forth a bit of effort, so I'll give him some credit. Likewise, Ernest Borgnine has very little to do, but he does it well enough.

Direction was good
FX were very good
Acting was good
Dialogue was good enough
Story was pretty stupid.



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