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Rashid Irani's review: Red

movie reviews Updated: Nov 27, 2010 12:51 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Direction: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren
Rating: ***

It’s never too late for death-defying heroics. Hot on the heels of Sylvester Stallone’s all-geriatrics romp The Expendables, comes yet another action adventure that sets out to assert, by virtue of its casting, that age doesn’t matter.

Essaying the role of a retired CIA assassin, Die Hard warrior Bruce Willis grabs the opportunity to display the cool machismo of yore while tackling calamities galore.

At 55 years of age, he’s actually younger than his well-pedigreed co-stars who include Morgan Freeman, 73, Brian Cox, 64, John Malcovich, 57, and in a real casting coup, Helen Mirren. The 65-year-old British thespian is a hoot, whether giving a tongue-lashing to a perky lass or letting rip with an outsized machine gun.

These veterans unlimited may show signs of age, strain and comic frailty, but when if comes to combating a common enemy, they wreak unprecedented havoc. Adapted from a 2003 graphic novel, RED (acronym for “Retired: Extremely Dangerous) is an effective retort to the predominantly youth-oriented movies produced nowadays .The former covert hitman (Willis) reunites with his elderly compatriots to track down the assailants who tried to kill him.

The rat-a-tat action stuff is staged with sufficient energy by director Schwentke (Flightplan). However, the tempo does tend to slack intermittently. As for the token romantic interest, it’s provided by a government pension clerk (Mary-Louise Parker) who’s abducted in order to keep her out of harm’s way. Incidentally, the film also features delightful cameos by the popular 1970s star Richard Dreyfuss and the Oscar-winning nonagenarian Ernest Borgnine.

Just for the presence of all the classy oldies, RED makes for 110 minutes of fun-filled viewing.