Better Red than Dead

My wife and I managed to get out to see Red on Friday. Going in, I didn't know very much about the movie. I knew it was about a bunch of retired spies (Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, and others) who were breaking into CIA HQ to exonerate themselves by exposing a plot.

That wasn't an entirely accurate summary; they were trying to kill plotters who started things rolling by trying to kill them. Also, Bruce Willis was trying to win the heart of a girl in the process. I was also unaware of the uncorrupted (but ambitious) CIA agent who was trying to trying to catch them.

As I alluded, I hadn't heard who the others in the spy group were, but I was very happy to find Morgan Freeman, John Malkovitch, and Brian Cox rounding out the crew. And I hadn't heard of him, but Karl Urban also did a great job as the (unretired) agent.

I ended up liking this one quite a bit more than Salt; I think because, while it was similarly believable, it didn't take itself seriously.

And I really liked how they did scene transitions; most of them involved moving from one city to another. Whenever they did, they had a funny-looking postcard from the new city, which then blended into whatever was going on.

There were a lot of jokes, and cracking wise. I think that's the best sort of role for Bruce Willis; thinking about it after the movie, I couldn't come up with any serious roles from him. Looking over his filmography now, I think the only serious one I've seen is Sixth Sense. But in a semi-serious role, he's very good.

I should also point out that the title, RED, is actually an acronym (revealed by Ernest Borgnine, of all people. I don't think I'd seen him in anything since ... well, he was in the excellent Gattaca, but I don't remember noticing him there (perhaps just too into the story to see). The last thing I actually remember seeing him in was Airwolf, sadly.) that stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous.

Hilarious. As was seeing the classification marker of 'Ultra Top Secret' on the files that he was handing over (although that one, I have to wonder if it was meant to be serious or not).

The only negative in the movie, to me, was Mirren and Willis talking, and her saying to him that he was "hard outside, and gooey inside". I guess that was their attempt to get a little bit serious, or something. But it rather irked me, because I don't think it's possible for someone who kills other people so casually to be even a little bit "gooey". But that was a very minor thing.

Anyway, don't expect anything deep and don't expect to be thrown by the plot twists, but do expect to be entertained.

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