Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Memorable, but not
The smell of sequels is in the air…but then again, when is it not? Either you view that air as putrid and annoying, or you like it in select cases. There is one film that received a sequel this year that I honestly think deserved one, and that was Red. Even though the movie works well on its own, I really think it benefits off of more screen time with these characters that people clearly love. To talk about the film, I have asked Daniel from Daniel’s Film Reviews to join me in a special review. Before we get into it, let me first explain the plot briefly.
Bruce Willis plays Frank, a retired and extremely dangerous (R.E.D.) CIA operative. When the CIA seems to be out to kill him, he takes romantic-interest Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) against her will and teams up with some old friends to survive and bring war against the CIA, and find a deep conspiracy that determines their very survival.
Daniel: To start the Red convo, how’d you like it?
Dave: I thought it was good, funny, and handled rather well for an ensemble comedy. I had some issues with how memorable it was though, how about you?
Daniel: I liked it, as well. Great fun, at least it’s more memorable than the other Willis geriatric actioner, The Expendables – so that has to count for something. What was your main issue with it?
Dave: I basically realized that the story in general was rather forgettable. I have seen Red once before when it first came out, and for a film that isn’t even five years old, I couldn’t remember what the premise was even about past a bunch of old guys in humorous action sequences, and yes, a lot of fun. To me, that seems to suggest little focus was actually spent on the story. For what it was, it’s exciting and hilarious to watch in the moment, but there are some things that escape your memory as time passes.
Daniel: Now that I think about that, and even though I only watched for the first time about a month ago, I’m only remembering the premise as Willis is a dangerous retiree who has to survive against a bunch of people who are trying to kill him. And I can’t remember what their motivations really were, to kill him. But do comic book adaptations usually have generic stories? It seems so, but like you say, I find it a blast – it certainly has a rewatchability factor
Dave: It does, I agree. You can rewatch this for the sheer enjoyability of the thing. This is one of the only instances where I say screw the story, it was presented in such a fashion that you can have a blast watching. In some respect, it reminds me of a humorous version of The Expendables, but that’s fine, given the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of The Expendables. For Red, you have a great display of chemistry between the characters and a good amount of individual humor shared between them. You might not care about why they are doing the things they are doing, but you do care about the characters themselves, and love watching them in action.
Daniel: Definitely! For a movie that doesn’t truly care about the story, I at least don’t have the trouble I do trying to explain the plot of something like that The Expendables or, even though they aren’t alike, Grown Ups. The characters and the action are what matter here. The chemistry is on-point. I think the relationship between Willis and Parker is charming. I think Marvin is the best character. Malkovich is so hilarious as that eccentric.
Dave: I just love Malkovich in anything he is a part of. That man is all over the place, and I love it. As for how the movie looks: It set a tone, and it stuck to it. There is never a moment in the film where you feel like something was done out of place. You understand the world the film takes place in, and it remains consistent throughout. Is there anything negative you have to say about it?
Daniel: Agreed, director Robert Schwentke knows what he wants to do with it. Not majorly, no. For an ensemble piece, everyone gets a chance to shine, even if I felt Morgan Freeman wasn’t utilized as well as he could have been. And I was underwhelmed by the antagonists. And, like we discussed, the lack of greatness in the story department. I find when the film doesn’t have the greatest story, it’s more difficult to discuss. Do you feel the need to mention anything about it?
Dave: I would just have to say the lack of a memorable storyline dragged this film to a place it didn’t want to be in. Having that downfall basically made Red a tad forgettable in an area that will hurt them in the end. Years after people watch it, and when it pops up in a conversation, they’ll be saying, “Remember that one funny movie…with the old people…and all the violence?” Well, that could be a number of films. This film is unique in a way, it just doesn’t have the long-term click that makes it fully memorable. Do you have a rating for it?
Daniel: Hahah exactly. I’d give it a 78, because it’s not quite at an 80, lol. And even though I’m not a fan of giving random-ish scores like that anymore, I think I have to bend the rules for this one. What would you give it?
Dave: Close to yours, actually, I gave it a 76, because I see it as better than 75. Thanks for discussing Red with me, and I hope we can do it again sometime soon!
Daniel: Nice. Thanks for the discussion, Dave. I hope so, too! Would you want to discuss the sequel once we both see it?
Dave: I was going to suggest the same thing. Sounds like a plan!