RED stands for retired and extremely dangerous. The plot revolves around Bruce Willis as an ex CIA agent named Frank Moses who is being hunted by the government for information he has on a highly classified mission he was a part of in the 1970’s. Morgan Freeman plays Joe Matheson another old friend of Frank Moses’s who is also being hunted by the government for his role in the same mission Moses took part in. Frank’s friends Marvin Biggs and Victoria agree to help him evade the government because they too are retired and miss being active agents in the field. The last person along for the ride and effectively the audience’s eyes and ears throughout the picture is Sarah Ross played by Mary-Louise Parker. Sarah is a civilian Frank Moses became attracted to while in retirement and Frank goes to see Sarah once he learns the government is after him. Sarah becomes Frank’s captive as well as his accomplice as the movie progresses and we, the audience are along for the ride.
The main problem with this film is the sheer lack of character development for the actors to access and utilize. Every scene feels like they were thrown into it by their acting teacher. Everyone actor plays to their well-known stereotype. Bruce Willis plays an aging military agent type; Helen Mirren who portrays Victoria is the refined and classy British agent we all grew up with from Bond films and The Avengers. Mary Louise Parker plays the innocent wide eyed civilian who expected none of this to happen to her. None of the actor’s characters were given any depth or backstory for the audience to connect with. No part of the mission Frank Moses took part in echoes the atrocities that took place in Vietnam or other war engagements, in fact the mission the government is after them for information on never really gets fleshed out and as a consequence the audience has no real reason to root for their success in evading the government. There really isn’t any originality in this film with the exception of the film’s premise.
The film has a few action scenes that surprise and astound and eventually it becomes the reason I stayed to finish the film. I believe the cast was well suited for their roles but that the film follows the old adage of all style and no substance. This film is a rental at best.