Friday, October 22, 2010
To say Red is a movie for the elderly is an insult to the elderly. Despite a few chuckles—finally, a movie for John Malkovich’s deliberate flamboyance—Red is mostly embarrassing. We root for Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman simply to survive each scene with some dignity; neither makes it out alive. It’s your typical ex-mercenary flick (which is to say, events transpire that pull them back into the biz) crossed with patronizing appeals to the power of the Old (think late Eastwood with less subtlety). If you’ve never seen a movie before, it’ll be really fun and exciting.
It’s equally sad that it kind of sort of half-heartedly wants to say something, like—you guessed it!—age has its own advantages, which is all very undercooked, and there’s a moment when we’re supposed to be in awe of Bruce Willis’ government-toppling history when all my bleeding heart wanted was an independent tribunal. Red really has it in for war criminal Dick Cheney, and it’s only two years too late to score topicality points; to be fair, it’s not comfortable driving more than ten miles under the speed limit. For the turn-your-brain-off set, Karl Urban rocks a nice suit (and I suppose Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren do it for rest of you). There’s plenty of action and lots of failed jokes, none of it very athletic since our heroes are AARP members, but director Robert Schwentke finds a few fun ways to spice up the standing-still-shooting-guns fight sequences. Which is the most I can say for this prosaic waste of talent. Red: Are you sure you wouldn’t rather watch Salt again?