Gunning for an Oscar

2010-11-22 00:00

“THE older you get, the less things matter,” is one of the lines from Red. That just about sums it up.

Come Friday night, I generally want to watch things blow up and not think about it. Through the years we’ve always been able to count on Bruce Willis for that, and so Red was a perfect outing. Even better, he’s joined by an über-stalwart cast and they’re all having fun. With guns.

Most critics and observers will reduce Red to simply a fun movie, in which our favourite stars — dare I say old-timers — enjoy an effortless revitalisation of the spy movie genre and their own careers.

Willis is a mellow version of Jason Bourne, John Malkovich plays a Mad Murdoch-type gone senile, Morgan Freeman is the likable old sidekick, Brian Cox is a romantic Russian mobster and Helen Mirren is, well, Helen Mirren — elegant and graceful in a ballgown, only this time she’s firing a Rambo-sized machine gun. It’s all quite fun, as Hollywood action movies go.

Red stands for “retired, extremely dangerous”. Apparently that means that Frank Moses (Willis) needs to be bumped off. Problem is, he’s still got what it takes, so the current special ops agents get handed an old-school can of whip-ass.

To counter this dead end in the plot, there’s a new-found love interest for Willis in the form of Sarah (the fantastic Mary-Louise Parker). Soon, the old team (Freeman et al) is assembled to counter the bad guys and their scheme, which involves top-ranking politicians and every other special ops unit.

The movie is based on the DC comics novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and it’s hard to believe that it and its makers were gunning (excuse the pun) for Oscar nods. The point is not to know why Willis, Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren are shooting at everyone … it’s simply that they are shooting at everyone.

And having fun doing it. ***

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