Sometimes you just don’t like a movie. You can’t exactly put your finger on the reason, nothing stands out dramatically. Perhaps it’s just the combination of several small details. That’s most likely the case with me and Red (2010). There isn’t any one major factor that I didn’t like; just a few small details. This is less a review, and more an account of how a few details can ruin an entire movie.
Red stands for Retired – Extremely Dangerous, which is the case of the lead character Frank Moses, an ex-black ops agent. After living the quiet life, he is forced back into work when a wet team attempts an assault on his house. But remember, he’s ex-black ops, and of course, he fights back, and then runs. On the way he reconnects with old colleague Joe (Morgan Freeman) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) to help him figure out who’s after him, and why.
He also picks up a new friend, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), a civilian who is in danger due to their new found phone relationship. You can almost see what’s coming before it happens. Of course they’ll fall for each other. Of course she’ll get captured; she’s a civilian, not a CIA agent. Of course, Moses is going to find a way, or force a way to get her back, and they’ll all live happily ever after. Is this a chick flick or an action movie?
The plot is slow to develop – forty-five minutes in we know what the problem is, we know why Willis and other members of his team are being hunted and killed off. So now what? Where do we go from here? Apparently, we don’t really go anywhere. There are helicopters, explosions, and lots and lots of guns, but so what? I could turn on any Michael Bay movie and see that. The even bigger problem here is the dialogue; messy, weak, and at most times COMPLETELY useless, listening to this dialogue is like trudging through mud in gumboots.
Add to this the acting and you’ll see the real problem. Of course, we’re not going to see any problems from Freeman and Mirren, and nothing major from Willis – even Parker pulls of her role well. It’s the acting from the supporting cast that gets me down. Karl Urban seems to have forgotten everything he learnt on the set of Lord Of The Rings, performing as well as any fresh faced college student in Screen Acting 101. His character is supposed to be rough, formidable, a stand up agent with the C.I.A. The best we get is a rather comical look during a fight sequence with Willis, which adds some amusement fort a bored viewer.
These three things – a useless budding romance, a slow moving plot filled with poorly written dialogue, and careless, small time acting – are normally excusable if found on their own. But sitting side by side like this, we begin to see how letting a few things slide can ruin an entire viewing. I turned if off about an hour and quarter of the way through, something I hate doing. What I saw was worth two stars, one of which is awarded to Morgan Freeman, for his adorable old man freckles.