Red is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hamner. Red stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous and it refers to the classification given to a band of retired CIA operatives who join forces when they realize their cohorts are being assassinated.
In Red, Bruce Willis, taking on his John McClane-Die Hard persona and using it to his full advantage, but adding in a much needed dose of humility, stars as a former black-ops agent who goes underground and assembles a team of retired operatives when he realizes they're all on their former employer's hit list.
Using their combined experience and expertise, they have to work together to figure out why they're being targeted as they fight to stay alive and take out their enemy.
Much like this summer's earlier offering, Sylvester Stallone's smash The Expendables, much of Red's success and humor hinges on the film's casting.
When you walk into an action movie starring Sly Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Steve Austin and Jason Statham, you're well aware of what you're going to get. The same can be true when you buy a ticket to a Bruce Willis flick. But, Red is clearly on a whole new level of different.
What do you get when the cast includes Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren, Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman, Oscar-nominee John Malkovich, Ernest Borgnine, Mary-Louise Parker and Brian Cox? It could be a Merchant Ivory film for crying out loud! But it's not. That's blaringly apparent the moment you see Dame Mirren swing toward the camera with a gun turret.
Malkovich looks to be at his quirky best as an agent who was "given daily doses of LSD for 12 years" while Freeman seems to relish his turn as a newly retired operative and Parker is always an onscreen delight. But who can deny that the real money's worth is watching Helen Mirren kick butt?
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