Friday, October 15, 2010

Movie Review: RED

To download to the audio version, right click here and choose "save as..." or "save link as..."

To listen, press the play button on the player below

This weekend has a lot of choices, at least for me. The Hawaii International Film Festival is this weekend running thru October 24, 2010. They are celebrating 30 years of motion pictures with almost 250 movies to choose from during the Fall showcase. I'm doing a number of volunteer shifts working at the theater and in Waikiki at the hospitality suite so I'm not sure what I'll have time to see with my vouchers. If you're reading this and you're in Hawaii, HIFF could always use more help, check out and look under GET INVOLVED and then volunteer at HIFF. In the mean time the general releases this week consisted of two offerings: Jackass 3D and RED. Since I generally don't do 3D and I didn't watch Jackass on MTV, I was left with just one selection: RED.

Now you're probably wondering why the name RED is in all caps and not proper case with a capital R and lower case e-d. That's because it's an acronym meaning Retired, Extremely Dangerous. The name is very appropriate. Right off the bat we meet Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and we can see that he is leading a very boring life. It's around Christmas time and the whole neighborhood is all decked out expect for his house. The one spice in his life seems to be conversations with Sarah Ross (Mary Louise Parker) who he talks to repeatedly after making up excuses to call her at the US Government Pension Services Office in Kansas City. So there is the retired in RED.

While walking to the bathroom in his own house at 4am he's attacked by three men dressed in black. He very swiftly and deftly takes them out without breaking a sweat and barely messing up his house coat. More guys show up and he dispatches them in short order. Extremely Dangerous needs to be explained no further after seeing this. By this time you know that the movie is going to be over the top with action. His home is riddled with bullets punching so many holes in the wood that even a block of Swiss cheese would have more material in it than what was left of Frank's house siding. With that level of intense action sequence in the movie and some brief strong language the movie earned a PG-13 rating.

So starts Frank's adventure. He realizes that someone from inside the CIA is out to kill him. He also realizes that the interest of his attention, Sarah, could be in danger. Let the road movie began! With postcards flashing on the screen showing us where Frank is going he goes to get Sarah and then to old and also retired black op friends Joe, Marvin and Victoria (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren) to solve the mystery of why he's trying to be taken out. With the gang along we now have the buddy movie.

As already mentioned the action was over the top with bullets, bazookas and bomb blasts. Each of our agents with unyielding and resolute calmness approach the mission stages with a mischievousness joy and delight as they get back into the game after being retired for so long. This is what they were born to do and know that they are good doing it. The level of comedy was unexpected but thoroughly enjoyed. You know you got a good one when the people in the movie make noise, cheer and yell "OH Snap" at the action on the screen.

They have some great characters to build upon if they decide to do a sequel, but they better move quickly. Of the main characters, Willis is the youngest at 55 with Malkovich at 57 and Freeman at 73. And I must say at 65, Helen Mirren still looks great and in the white gown used in the movie, very shapely and sexy. The run time of 111 minutes kept my attention and according to some tweets and Facebook posts that I've seen appeared to have kept other peoples attention as well! This was a very well done popcorn chomping action flick!

The Movie Monkey

To subscribe to the audio podcast of the reviews via iTunes click here. Audio versions are released the following Wednesday.