There is something sinfully satisfying about watching an Oscar winner like Helen Mirren go hog-wild with a machine gun.
Needless to say, the actress stepped out of her comfort-zone for the new action-packed drama “RED” – which stands for “Retired Extremely Dangerous.” And although scenes like the aforementioned one make the motion picture somewhat of an appealing attraction, the vast majority of the flick feels dramatically dry – especially for a movie based on a graphic novel.
Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, a former black-ops CIA agent who has retired from his action-packed life for something a bit more quiet. He spends his suddenly boring days chatting up Mary Louise Parker’s Sarah, a telephone customer service representative. However, all of that chances when a hi-tech hit squad shows up at his house.
With his identity compromised, Frank quickly rescues Sarah – against her will – and attempts to reassemble his old team in a last-ditch effort to survive. Formerly the CIA’s top agents, Frank, Victoria (Mirren), Joe (Morgan Freeman) and Marvin (John Malkovich) are now the agency’s top targets.
Together, Frank and his friends make their way across the country on a mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters where they eventually uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history. And it will take all of their collective cunning and experience to stay one step ahead of their pursuer (Karl Urban).
“RED’s” plot does not differ much from three other films released since spring – “The Losers,” “The A-Team” and “The Expendables.” And it is most certainly the weakest adventure of the bunch. Drifting all too frequently into monotonous dialogue-laden territory and skimping on the action, the movie is relatively boring.
Having said that, when Jon and Erich Hoeber’s screenplay grants director Robert Schwentke the freedom to play around with the cinematic tools that make a movie of this genre interesting, the filmmaker does not hold back and instead takes some fairly daring risks. On the other hand, they are too few and far between to make a difference.
“RED” will undoubtedly satisfy those moviegoers who simply want to see some truly talented actors prove that you do not have to be Bradley Cooper’s age nor posses Sylvester Stallone’s physique to kick butt. However, the movie takes itself too seriously, abandoning its colorful graphic novel roots and subscribing to the delusional belief that it just might earn Mirren another Academy Award.
“RED” (111 – PG-13 minutes) is now playing at movie theaters throughout the Valley. Visit NCM.com for specific showtimes and locations.
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