Monday, October 18, 2010

Higgens Network: RED

RED works on the belief that it isn’t about the age of the action hero, but who is playing the hero. Wanted was a stupid movie, but people enjoyed it when Morgan Freeman was swearing up a storm and shooting people. Sure, it’s a bit of odd juxtaposition but it’s mostly because it’s fun to see Morgan Freeman as an unconventional action hero.

Freeman is back in this movie and joined by Bruce Willis, Brian Cox, John Malkovich, and—of course—Helen Mirren. Together they’re traveling across the country, killing bad guys, and taking names. Plenty of jokes are thrown at them for being old but none of them seem old. Willis can walk out of a spinning car, Malkovich can stop a missile, and Mirren can seemingly shoot every gun ever. The plot doesn’t revolve around them not being physically able, but just bored.

Before the complicated espionage assassination, Willis was spending his retirement revolving around his day around phone calls to a beautiful telemarketer played by Mary-Louise Parker. Once the bullets start flying, they have no choice but to finally meet and stay alive. Parker is a blast as the adventure romantic who doesn’t take kindly to being kidnapped. Willis is...the same emotionless performance he’s given for years now.

I loved them playing off each other and the rest of the group having fun, but they ultimately became part of the background. It suddenly becomes too convoluted with Karl “Bones” Urban and Rebecca “Wait, Mamet didn’t write this?” Pidgeon trying to use CIA resources to kill everybody. Then there’s Richard Dreyfuss playing the same part he did in Leaves of Grass (and W?) who is involved with Julian McMahon. Most of it doesn’t make any sense and is instantly forgettable.

This should have been like a Bond plot. Those guys are evil. Let’s get them and stuff will probably blow up. The film tries to cram too much and before we even understand why we’re in one state we’re off to the next one and more characters are added. Some are great additions like Brian Cox who pulls off the purple suit and Russian accent. But then Freeman is wasted because there are too many people doing the same thing.

Still, the movie is light and there are enough fun performances to make this an enjoyable movie to watch. It just doesn’t get me excited for Still RED.

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