Red is a fairly good movie. The idea behind it is simple. Four ex-CIA operatives who are no longer active, are now being targeted by the agency because they know too much. So, the agency tries to kill them all off, starting with Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) as well as the rest of his former team which included Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren). The four ex-operatives must use all of their wits and everything they learned at the agency to try to stay ahead of the CIA’s pursuers. On their path to redemption, they end up discovering even more dirty CIA secrets and a huge conspiracy.
The casting choices for the film are marvellous and work really well, as Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren all put in quite charming performances and really capture the essence of the comic (also called Red) which the film is based on. It’s not everyday that you get to see Bruce Willis teaming up with Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich to solve a government conspiracy and clear their names in the process. For the most part, watching it is pretty enjoyable.
The four leads (Willis, Malkovich, Freeman and Mirren) all work well together. Their chemistry is great and to see them working together and playing off each other on screen makes Red worth the price of admission. Supporting roles aren’t bad either as Brian Cox, Karl Urban and Julian McMahon show up in poorly written parts, but still manage to make the most of their material.
The story is a bit messy at times and as the film goes on, it seems as if the filmmakers were less concerned with preserving the fluidity and logic of it all and more concerned with keeping the action up to par. While I can see how this would bug some, I didn’t take issue with it. I came into the film hoping to be entertained and on that count, the film did deliver. All the action is shot pretty well and the humor is mixed in nicely. Director Robert Schwentke pulls off the stylized violence effectively and offers plenty of thrilling sequences.
It’s not a perfect film, and it’s not one that you’ll see showing up at any award ceremonies, but if you’re looking for some good, mindless entertainment then you’ve come to the right place. Red offers some enjoyable performances with just enough exciting action to provide a solid watch.
Moving onto the disc itself, for special features, here’s what the disc comes with:
- Audio Commentary with Retired CIA Field Officer Robert Baer
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Access: Red: A picture-in-picture video track
- Easter Egg (1080p, 10:46): By highlighting the Special Features tab and pressing the down arrow on your remote, you can find a short feature that looks at some of the visual effects.
The commentary is interesting and a bit unconventional. Baer wasn’t a filmmaker here so instead of talking about the film, he mainly discusses the CIA and his time spent there. He does relate it back to the film but for obvious reasons, he doesn’t talk about the filmmaking process. It was a neat idea but overall, it can’t sustain itself and there are quite a few dead or just plain boring spots on the track.
Deleted and extended scenes are exactly what you’d expect, nothing special here and the easter egg is worth the watch despite only being 10 minutes. As for the PIP track, it’s put together pretty well and is better than the commentary track. You get the usual film trivia along with random facts here and there. An interesting feature if you enjoyed the film and one worth checking out.
When it comes to presentation, visually this is a clean and crisp picture, and the 1080p transfer only adds to that. Every single crease in the cloth or book in the library is stunningly flawless and all I can say is it was a pleasure to watch this movie in high def. Detail is extraordinary and colours are balanced perfectly. Red looks fantastic on Blu-Ray!
The Blu-Ray scores in the audio category as well. The special effects, the dialogue and the score all compliment each other and sound delightful. Watching this with surround sound for the first time on Blu-Ray really was a treat. Despite the heavy action, dialogue is never drowned out and the score provides a wonderful background for the action to play out upon. The audio here matches the video and is equally as impressive.
Overall, I wouldn’t call the movie great, but it was a lot of fun to watch, especially with the high audio and video quality, which is about as good as it gets. Special features aren’t great but I guess you can’t have it all. It’s hard not to be entertained by Red and when you add in the very impressive presentation, this one should fit real nice in your Blu-Ray collection.
Red is a real entertaining film that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. It's fun the whole way through and has a great cast.