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If “Red” were to be described in one way, it would be an adolescent revenge fantasy aimed at baby boomers. It’s for every mid-life-crisis-stricken adrenaline junkie who wants to make the whipper-snappers pay for looking at them like they’re unhip. Of course, since this is a big-budget Hollywood action film with A-list names, there’s something everyone will enjoy, even if none of it is anything new or even good.
The plot is straightforward enough: Frank Moses, a retired CIA black ops agent, tracks an intricate web of government espionage alongside his other aging comrades and his newly found love interest, Sarah (Mary Louise-Parker). He meets her by pretending to never receive his pension checks and calling her to flirt. Suddenly, bullets fly, buildings collapse, one-liners are delivered, and the good guys save America, again.
“Red” is hypocritical in that it wants to make its audience feel young with the most recycled plot strands in movie history. The unlikely couple thrown into a web of espionage or the good guys coming together “one last time” to take on the ultimate evil – I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
The only saving grace in this movie are the actors, who all are well-cast and seem to be having fun. Watching Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren kick ass on screen together should be a treat for anyone, and it’s even in the safe confines of a PG-13 rating. They’re all there for the paycheck, but unlike most, they actually put the effort in to give the movie a little jolt of escapist fun.
Outside these few moments of adrenaline-soaked elderly mayhem, this movie is boring and conventional. The visuals don’t particularly wow. Director Robert Schwentke clearly had too much money riding on this movie to take any real risks.
From start to finish, “Red” is a stylized, completely choreographed and neatly packaged action film that is intended to elicit certain gasps and laughs at precisely timed moments. It’s supposed to make you feel like you got your money’s worth, though if you spent your pension money on it, you probably didn’t.
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