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This week:

Filthy says:

If all you had to do to class a pile of shit up is add old people, then the retirement homes around here would be the fucking Louvre instead of heaven's filthy waiting room. Old people don't automatically add gravitas or wisdom. From the evidence I see every day, most old people are just as fucked up and incapable of good decisions as the rest of us. Even worse, they're older and less able to reverse their low standing and poor health. They're in debt, they eat bad food, have diabetes and gout, watch PBS and hang around in McDonald's demanding free coffee refills while bitching about any youth who aren't their grandchildren.

RED is like a crappy retirement home with some highbrow residents, like Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ernest Borgnine. They don't improve the decrepit facility, just like a Nobel Prize winner in residence wouldn't make the breakfast taste better or the bed bugs any less bitey at the Meridian Senior Home here in Arvada. The stars are just there, killing time until they fade away and disappear. It's a sad fate for older actors. There are very few good roles for them, so they either take what they can get or vanish from public site and people think of them occasionally when assuming they're dead. A shitload of press gets written about how there are so few roles for old actors, but that's because old people don't go to the movies. They're too fucking happy bitching in the McDonald's.

Along with RED's old-timers who once did fine work is Bruce Willis. I had no idea that fucking asshole was the main char and had the most screen time or I wouldn't have paid my $7.50 to see it at a matinee. Willis bugs the shit out of me through my nose. He's not even an actor, just a smarmy prick people keep accidentally casting in movies.

RED is the same story as several other crappy movies from earlier this summer: The Expendables; The Losers; and The A-Team. Whatever software unimaginative screenwriters use to generate plots must have a glitch in it because every hack got the premise of a ragtag band of former military operatives who must rebel against their superiors to save their lives/reputations/friends. This time the premise is no more clever, no less derivative, and every bit as mindlessly violent. The difference is RED has older people in it, and the corny one-liners are about being old instead of being homoerotic.

Willis is a retired CIA analyst whose lonely Cleveland life is shattered when a squad of crack hit men try to kill him. In his escape, he picks up a girl who has been helping him with his retirement check issues (Mary Louise Parker), a drone in an office who dreams of adventure through romance novels. Then, in a series of scenes that lack a sense of urgency or reason, they get Malkovich, Freeman, Mirren and Cox to join them in learning who is trying to kill them.

RED's plot has no rules and no surprises. It plods along like a retarded boy tethered to a string hung from point A to point B, easily distracted by shiny things and things that go boom. The audience is dragged along. There is no puzzle for the audience to solve and no clues to amass. RED makes up shit as it goes along. I didn't understand where it was going or when it would end. The enemy and the goal are constantly shifting and introduced, and not in a good way. More like the way hack screenwriters would keep piling on to make the script longer.

Willis and the other characters are really fucking hard to root for or care about. It's the kind of movie where we're supposed to go , "Rah rah!" But the morals of the "heros" are as dubious as the bad guys and they kill more people, most of whom aren't bad guys. Ultimately everything they do boils down to shooting things and blowing up an assload of folks because 1) it's fun and reminds them of old times, and 2) they're like three-year-olds who can't verbalize. They only miss their shots when they need to for the script. Their age is never a factor in how clever, swift or tough they are. It is, actually, in no way relevant to the action. The people chasing them, though, always miss their shots, and are far less clever. That's the hallmark of a lazy screenwriter who can more easily insert an explosion than brilliance.

The performances in RED are uniformly smug and annoying. The movie exploits our sympathetic feeling toward old actors by letting them ham it up, as though they had a ball making this movie. That sentiment was as fake and scripted as the myriad of "I'm old" and "You're old" jokes that litter the script like Marlboro butts at a NASCAR event. I seriously doubt they had fun making this, and their campiness isn't amusing. It elicits the same emotion as what I felt watching Ocean's 11, 12, 13; that is, that those fuckers on Hollywood think we're happy to pay celebrities do shitty work, so long as they have fun doing it.

Smug min-acting is standard issue for Willis. Malkovich is supposed to be the A-Team Murdoch of the bunch, the goofy wild card who gets the job done but drives others crazy. There is nothing original enough about his character, though, to justify how fucking pleased everyone seems to be with his performance. Freeman is slumming it, mostly just standing there adding nothing but an air of class that leaks out of the movie like air from balloons. Mirren also is just Mirren, adding nothing but a chunk of her soul that she'll never get back. Thank God for Brian Cox, though, as a Russian operative. He keeps Malkovich from being picked for Christmas dinner as the juiciest ham. Cox's performance is a fucking dreadful, ill-accented slog that tires long before he's done. It's a little window into the importance of directors. Some actors will be as over-the-top and cheesy as they can imagine without good direction. RED has shitty direction.

The romantic portion of the movie sucks. Parker is too old, tired and sad-eyed to be playing a naif who falls for Willis. In a sad effort to shave off twenty years, she acts dumb, impressionable and easily excited. If I met an actual 46-year-old who acted this way I'd make her grow some balls just so I could cut them off. Her interaction with Willis is perfunctory and that she will fall in love with him is an inevitability that even the script assumes. There is just a steady progression from "I hate you" to "I love you" without obstacles or delight.

RED is crap, a lousy, bloody action movie no better than the scum of the summer, only with actors who should have known better. That they didn't means they should move along to the retirement home and let us assume they are dead. Two Fingers.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Maria Salas of Terra TV and The CW

Red: "You can't miss this movie. Laugh-out-loud fun."

"You'll fall in love with Life as We Know It."

Filthy's Reading
Shirley Jackson - Novels and Stories

Listening to
The Hives - Barely Legal


The Quiet American