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Bruce Willis reclaims action star throne in “Red”

By Tyler Manoukian

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Bruce Willis invades the big screen once again in his latest action film, R.E.D, standing for Retired and Extremely Dangerous. Released this past weekend, the movie features the high-impact and explosively bullet-ridden scenes everyone is looking for.

Frank Moses, a retired black ops operative, became an assassination target as a result of his lethal past. When a New York Times reporter is murdered, Moses reassembles his old unit to uncover the real reason for his and a list of others’ planned murders. His mission leads him to classified documents that will reveal the truth behind the ordered hits.

The action film is directed by Robert Schwentke, who directed “Time Traveler’s Wife,” and features a star-studded cast. The movie is based off the graphic novel “Red,” a three-issue comic book miniseries released by D.C. Comics written by Warren Ellis with art by Curly Hammer.

The movie features a mix of great scenes, with intense action and a cool flow. Schwentke’s directing is impressive in the film. His interchanging of shaky shots and blurred scenes became a cue for an impending firefight. The direction the film took was predictable, of course. However, the movie took an interesting turn towards the end that really intensified the interest of the viewers. What was believed to be an ending that could already be distinguished, the movie surprised with an unforeseen ending.

“Red” is one of those movies that leads the audience in one direction, and then totally blows the expected conclusion out of the water. Though it is not one of the most original films released (it is similar to redemption stories such as “S.W.A.T.”), it does still deliver.

Bruce Willis, of “Die Hard” fame, takes the role Frank Moses in one of his most action-packed films since “Live Free or Die Hard.” Moses, a retired operative with an “ultra top secret file” must fight his way out of a government cover-up. His role in the film is nothing short of spectacular. His deep voice and polished demeanor worked hand in hand together to create a very dramatic performance.

Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich also star in the film. Freeman plays the role of Joe Matheson, a former member of Frank’s team living in a retirement home only to be dragged out by his lust for high-risk situations. Freeman’s performance in “Red” is not unlike his other performances. Seen as the wise man with a secret humorous side, Freeman delivers as an 80-year-old plagued by stage-four cancer. Freeman supports Willis and his team with a passionate performance throughout.

Malkovich, or Marvin Boggs in the film, plays the role of a paranoid, old ex-team member. Boggs believes that the government is watching him through satellite and that they are trying to kill him. As an operative part of the W.E.T. team, Boggs is “the crazy one.” His line delivery is simply hysterical. His awkward comments at the most precarious times got a few chuckles from the audience, which is always good in an action film.

The female stars, Mary-Louis Parker and Helen Mirren, play an integral role in the adventure. Parker is cast as Sarah Ross, the pension clerk from Kansas City who is essentially stalked by Moses. Moses drags her into the mess because of his romantic interest in her. Moses’ budding romance in the beginning steers full swing towards the end when he will stop at nothing to save her. Parker’s breakout performance in the film was unexpected. She transitioned well from television to big flick, and she had an all-star cast to work with.

Mirren plays Victoria, the last member of the old unit who is mysteriously introduced well into the movie. As part of her mystique, her life is just as secretive as the rest of her team members’ lives. Her efforts as part of the cast were well admired– however, she was the one person in the film who should not have been in it. It seems as if she was dragged around, frequently playing second fiddle to the others. However, she does contribute some hysterical one-liners that will have you laughing with the rest of the cast such as, “I haven’t killed anyone in years. That’s sad.” She is redeemed towards the end with a brilliant final scene.

Karl Urban, most notably from the “Lord of the Rings” films, also gives a stellar performance. Usually cast as a supporting actor, his role as primary antagonist in the movie was amazing. His growth throughout the plot was probably the most underrated performance. It is time for this guy to breakout– he can definitely act. While not the best, a little more polish and he could be one of the most popular stars in the industry.

Overall, this movie is a must-see. If you’ve read the graphic novel, you definitely want to see this. The interconnectedness in this flick is something to embrace. Things really come together throughout the movie. With the intertwinement of the characters and the budding romance, this movie is a must-see for Willis fans. For anyone who wants to see some good old-fashioned action and a truckload of explosions, take the time to sit down and watch.

Tyler Manoukian can be reached at [email protected]


2 Responses to “Bruce Willis reclaims action star throne in “Red””

  1. Brandon Yanofsky on October 19th, 2010 3:19 am

    Thought the movie was so so so good.

    I liked Helen mire’s character. But I felt Mary louis parker’s character could have had more screen time.

  2. Mickey on October 19th, 2010 4:01 am

    Great movie!!!Bruce is still outstanding.Respect!!

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