Thursday, October 21, 2010

‘R.E.D.’– Colorful, action packed fun!

Well, as many of you know, I love movies mined from comic books – and it has been a pretty fair year so far; ‘Kick Ass’ was terrific; ‘Ironman 2’ while not living up to the first, was able to stand well on its own and ‘Scott Pilgrim VS the World’ was very enjoyable. Notice I am leaving out the clunker ‘Jonah Hex’ – a bomb and not even worth you $1.00 at Redbox! Now along comes R.E.D. (Retired and Extremely Dangerous), adapted from the graphic novel of the same name; it is a completely original and very fun action/comedy.

With a fantastic cast, excellent writing and even better direction, ‘R.E.D.’ comes out on top for this year’s action film crop. Who can’t love a film that has Helen Mirren at the end of a Uzi? Based on the graphic novel by Curt Hammer and Warren Ellis, ‘R.E.D.’ is not a new tale, but it is done so freshly and with style that we don’t mind the retrends. Frank Moss (Bruce Willis) is a ex-CIA agent in retirement. The highlight of his day is the phone call to the US Government customer service department about his pension check and his lengthy conversations with Sarah (Mary Louise Parker) whom he falls in love with. Frank is somehow sanctioned ‘R.E.D.’ which means that the CIA is out to get rid of him – we soon find that Frank is actually a part of a large government cover-up/conspiracy and in order to get to the bottom of it, he assembles his old team.

The action sequences are thrilling and keep the movie going at a fast pace; the entire time the ensemble cast of veteran actors are obviously having a great time! John Malkovich as the lunatic Marvin Boggs steals nearly every scene he is in. Helen Mirren as the upper spy Victoria is as stunning as always; rounding out the crew is the always fantastic Morgan Freeman as Joe, living in a retirement home but still strong enough to take out a CIA assassin. The cast is loaded with characters including Richard Dreyfuss as the evil weapons smuggler Alexander Dunning and Brian Cox as the Russian spy Ivan. All play their parts with relish and we find ourselves enjoying that as much as the film itself.

The chemistry between all of these fine actors is what makes the movie work. ‘R.E.D.’ is a very rare action film that is good in all the right places and exceptional in an equal amount of right places. While the story has been done before, the actors and the well choreographed/filmed action pieces more than make up for the retrend. If you only try to go to one comic book adaptation a movie season – or you shy away from action films, ‘R.E.D.’ is NOT the film to do this in! This is a film to run out and see, enjoy and watch the brilliance of great performances and fun action! This 3 ½ start effort is well worth the price of any admission and deserves to be viewed on the big screen.

My Redbox pick is keeping it in the action genre, the 3 ½ star ‘Iron Man 2’ follows our favorite tin man into an open life as his has revealed his secret identity. Now everyone wants the Iron Man technology, from a smarmy Senator (Gary Shandling at his best) to a very angry Russian inventor (Micky Rourke, in an inspired performance as ‘Whiplash’). Along for the ride is the very lovely ‘Black Widow’ an agent of SHIELD played by Scarlett Johansson, in action scenes that will make you want to hit the slow motion button or the repeat button! If you have Blu-ray, that is your best bet, but $1.00 for a DVD s just fine as well. That’s right – Redbox carries Blu-ray now! YAY!

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