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
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.
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.
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.
to tell Filthy Something?