REVIEW: 'Red', Flicks.co.nz
John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis

2 stars

Action-comedy about ex-CIA agents who ditch their quiet, retired lives and get back in the game. Stellar cast includes Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Kiwi Karl Urban. Click here for session info.

With a cast to die for, who wouldn't expect big things from Red (Retired Extremely Dangerous)? Watching Dame Helen Mirren fire a bazooka while maintaining her queenly disposition is worth paying the admission fee, and Kiwi star Karl Urban is suitably stony as Bruce Willis' nemesis.

But this comedy-action flick has little else going for it than its red-hot leads. The film tries a bit too hard to be irreverent as it sends some of Hollywood's elder statesmen and women into the firing line, with scant regard for story. Usually that doesn't matter too much in a film that blows up half of its props but, here, it feels like a long-winded excuse for a back-patting exercise. The film's two romances are implausible, the dialogue is drawn out with geriatric pauses and the constant funk soundtrack does little to make sense of a plot more disjointed than Brian Cox's knees.

Even the characters know the stakes just ain't that high. They've done their dash as CIA agents, which means they have nothing to lose but it also means no-one cares if Morgan Freeman walks out alive.

Red is not without its charms – John Malkovich's turn as the too-quirky-not-to-have-been-wiped-out-by-now victim of extreme paranoia is endearingly mad, and Mary-Louise Parker seems still to be on Weeds – but it seems to think it's funnier than it really is.

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