Red is what The Expendables should have been. It is about a group of famous actors (Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren) depicted as retired spies/badasses. In the movie, they must emerge from retirement one last time in order to kick some booty, look fantastic, and make everyone else look bad.
And, unlike The Expendables, which had a similar premise, Red accomplishes its goal with style, panache, and tongue-in-cheek humor. Unlike The Expendables, buckets of blood and absurd amounts of violence aren't necessary in order to illustrate the awesomeness of these retired agents. Instead, the movie depicts them in a subtler fashion; they have their own personality quirks and foibles, but they are, on the whole, very intelligent people. They use their brains to pull off impressive things, along with skills honed from a lifetime of kickassery. There are a number of moments that are unbelievable, but that is, in a way, the theme of Red; it is a movie about the fun to be had in making these actors + actress into the most epically awesome people you've ever seen. And this is what makes Red a joy to watch.
With Old Age comes Undiluted Awesome
It is hard for me to expand on this movie, in a fashion, because it was just plain fun. The plot wasn't anything special; the greatness came with the actors and their hilarious depictions of retired badasses. John Malkovich in particular impressed me. Most of the time, it is hard for me to understand why this guy is such a famous actor. But, in Red, I couldn't help but crack up every time he showed up.
John Malkovich embodies the extreme side of a certain stereotype; that of the man in the woods who lives alone with all of his guns and thinks that the government is out to get him. When Bruce Willis goes to pick him up to rejoin the crew for one last mission, the result is hilarious. I don't want to ruin it, but I will say this: John Malkovich's character might be completely insane, but he is someone you would absolutely want on YOUR side. His utter disdain for the government and people in general, along with his almost childish eagerness to win at any costs helps to create one of the most bizarre and ridiculous characters I've ever seen in an action movie.
And all of his compatriots are equally awesome and funny in their own right. Bruce Willis plays the "softie" of the group, kicking ass in the name of saving his new girl from danger, a role that everyone else makes fun of him for. Morgan Freeman is... Morgan Freeman, but twice as crazy awesome as he usually is. Helen Mirren is hilarious, acting half-cheery matriarch, half-little miss badass.
Can't really add more aside from an obligatory repeat whisper of, "Badass...!" This movie was enjoyable, the relationships between characters entertaining, and the characters themselves along with their antics were great. The action feels fast, professional, not gory, and over-the-top all at the same time. An excellent blend.
However, the plot is forgettable, I never quite had a liking for Bruce Willis' girlfriend character, and everything about it is mostly unbelievable. But that is the point, so I can't grudge it that. This is a charming movie about old people coming back from retirement to show the new fellas that they still are of legendary awesome and, for that, this movie is perfect.
Buy it on DVD
*New Scoring System*
Because I've found a number system to be impossible to reliably implement, I've decided to drop numbers entirely and simply have recommendations. Example recommendation chart (for movies):
See it ASAP
Buy it on DVD