Sunday, August 25, 2013

R.E.D. (2010) DVD

Damn fine actress and what a woman.
Rating:  4 out of 5 Retired But Extremely Dangerous Government Agents

Plot Synopsis:  Frank Moses gets a hit put on him by an unknown person in the US government.  This puts himself and the lovely pension phone operator Sarah Ross in danger as they are seeking to leverage Sarah against Frank or eliminate both in case Sarah questions Frank’s death.  It isn’t real clear.  Anyway, they have to figure out who is hunting them while at the same time gathering some old assets to help them.

The Good:

-Frank Moses wakes up exactly at 6:00am without an alarm clock.  The next several minutes show us a routine that he must have done every day for years.

-I really like the relationship between Frank Moses and Sarah Ross, him calling her on the phone.  It’s a slightly different character then we see Bruce Willis play.  I say slightly because when you pay to get Bruce Willis you’re paying him to BE Bruce Willis.  You aren’t paying for his range.  You have a specific character in mind and that character is Bruce Willis-y so you hire Bruce Willis.  In this respect he’s perfect for the role.  Plus Mary Louise Parker is cute as button in her role which she plays quite well.
            --I want to add that it’s not that I don’t think Willis doesn’t have range.  He does, roles like 12 Monkeys and Moonlighting show that he does have range but it’s a range that goes mostly underutilized.  He mostly gets roles in which he plays a version of himself, it seems.

-Frank gets up at 3:32am.  You know some shit is about to go down.

-Frank taking down the wet works team set to get him.  He does it pretty effortlessly, kills a 3 man entry team, fries up some bullets in a skillet (that’s not a euphemism but it is now), survives a torrential storm of oncoming fire and then breaks out the old “back up kit” (a gun and spare identities).

-There is nothing left of his poor house after a 3 man gun team shoot it to shit.  Of course Frank kills them with a Hong Kong pistol.

-I really like the post card interstitials.

-Frank meeting Sarah face to face.

-Karl mutha fuckin’ Urban and if you don’t get why that alone adds a star then I feel sorry for you.

-Morgan “Silky Smooth” Freeman.

-Frank casually steps out a spinning car like a fucking boss and starts shooting like it ain’t no thang.  First shot is right between the eyes but is stopped by bullet resistant glass.

-Ernest Borgnine is still alive.

-Everything Marvin (John Malkovich).  From jump street he’s a highlight, everything he says or does, every confused expression on his face makes him the best part of this movie.

-The airport escape.  Marvin bats back a pitched grenade with the butt of a grenade launcher and shoots a god damned (Batman) RPG out of the air with a magnum revolver.

-That is a boss purple paisley suit coat.  I want it.

-Cooper (Urban) vs. Moses in a knockdown, drag out, nasty fight.  It is just brutal, it doesn’t last long but it ranks as one of the best on screen fights I have ever seen.  Pretty realistic, there aren’t a whole lot of fancy flourishes but there are a couple of holds that probably would be harder to pull off in a real fight in that environment.  But it is just fucking brutal and they beat the piss out of each other.

-Richard Dreyfuss.

-I’ve never been more sexually attracted to anyone more than I am to Helen Mirren in this movie.

-Frank calling Cooper and the realization that THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!

-The climax is one of those well-oiled, everything accounted for plans.  I actually really enjoy stuff like that, the way things happen right on time and people just go from beat to beat with a visage of casual determination is always enjoyable to me.

-Marvin running with a bomb strapped to his chest screaming.

The Bad:

-Ha-ha sexual harassment. 

-“You speak Chinese.” “Yes but it always sounds very poorly dubbed.”

-“I said hello like 90 minutes ago but no one’s said anything.  I am at a crime scene so I guess I have nothing better to do than wait.”

-Sarah gets captured like a punk.  One turned ankle down a slope and she’s captured.

The Ugly:

-Gross, that contact lens was in her mouth and you put in your eye?  That’s how you get Pink Eye bro.

-Morgan Freeman can’t throw a punch.  Like, I don’t know if he’s even seen a punch thrown before it was that bad.

Final Thoughts:  I’m a real sucker for “spook” fiction.  Stuff involving the government and government agents.  Before I pretty much gave up all TV I loved Person of Interest and Burn Notice, any show like that where you focus on a military minded, trained profession working for the hidden side of the government (or something similar, I realize that neither of those shows involve directly working with the government).  I really enjoy it so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed this.  If you like stuff like that you will probably get the same amount of enjoyment.  The acting is solid, not award winning by any means but very solid, the plot is decent, the action scenes range from fun to boner inducing gun porn impossibleness. 

For the most part the movie is invisible, by which I mean there is nothing that obviously detracts from its presentation.  When something is done poorly (writing, directing, acting, editing, cinematography, pacing, VFX) it detracts from the experience.  When it’s done adequately then it’s totally invisible.  When it does it well it elevates the experience and takes something ordinary and makes it extraordinary.  This movie falls into the invisible range, everything is competently done.  It makes it difficult to praise the movie based on this, because there isn’t much more to say than good, which makes it repetitive, but praise has indeed been earned because reaching the level of being invisible takes a lot of effort and work by a lot of people.  I have not read the comic but I have read the Wikipedia entry about the comic.  It sounds like these two things have nothing in common, not even the main characters name.  So being a fan of the comic probably doesn't change much.  However being a fan of the Spook fiction genre will certainly help.  All in all it’s a competent, fun action movie that you don’t need to expect much from to be satisfied with.

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