I have to hand it to RED: I really wasn’t sure I’d appreciate the film’s depiction of a bunch of over-the-hill government-trained killers. In any other movie, they’d be fumbling their way scene to scene, something intended to be far more comical, and watch as their kills come by misadventure rather than through channeling their former glory. Oh, sure, it’s based off a critically acclaimed comic book series, but who reads comic books?
Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) wakes up at 6:00AM, right as his silent clock depicts it. After living a long, cold life of ruthless brutality, he just wants to connect with someone. That lucky someone happens to be Sarah (a super cute Mary Louise-Parker) who’s been answering his calls for replacement pension checks in a call center. After a firefight at his home, he decides to find Sarah (who’s now on a hit list for even knowing Frank) and gather the rest of his fellow killers to determine why his former employer – the CIA – is trying to take him out.
The movie has some great action sequences that are stylish without ever feeling overdone, tied to a leaden pace as Moses and his posse slowly criss-cross the country by way of postcard transitions. RED is a slow starter, but even when it shifts into its plot-twisting climax, it’s never in any hurry. Moses’ colleagues, wacky (Malkovich), classic (Mirren), and cool (Morgan) are wonderful on screen, never caricatures, but the film spends far too long getting to them. Karl Urban shows up early enough to look like the antagonist, but we find there’s far more than meets the eye here…
The film is well worth a watch, but even its best moments can’t compensate for the fact that it runs twenty minutes over schedule.