The so-called ‘geriaction’ subgenre can be traced back to Taken, when a combination of the box office returns and Liam Neeson’s subsequent reinvention as cinema’s most popular action star just shy of his 60th birthday led to a slew of his contemporaries signing on to similar projects, in the hopes that they too could outrun the sands of time.
Inevitably, the results were mixed to say the least, and none of the others could dislodge Neeson from his perch as the grizzled elder statesman of the action film. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand, Sean Penn’s The Gunman, Kevin Costner’s 3 Days to Kill, John Travolta’s From Paris with Love and Mel Gibson’s Get the Gringo to name but a small few tried to replicate the formula, while Sylvester Stallone built the entire Expendables franchise around the idea of old guys proving they’ve still got it.
Meanwhile, back when Bruce Willis was still considered a relatively big star and his movies hit theaters on a regular basis instead of existing in VOD purgatory, the Die Hard legend headlined one of the best geriaction movies in RED. The comic book adaptation was a straightforward, no-frills actioner straight out of the 1980s playbook, which is a huge compliment.
Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox, and Richard Dreyfuss kept the older generation well-represented, while the point was hammered home that this wasn’t a movie for the young’uns when Ernest Borgnine showed up at the age of 93 for a cameo. However, the real scene-stealers were John Malkovich on brilliantly eccentric form and Helen Mirren, who proved that she could more than hold her own as a badass.
Unsurprisingly, the mid budget and action-packed movie is proving to be hugely popular with Netflix subscribers, with RED currently the eighth most-watched title around the world today on the global chart as tons of people sit down to revisit what’s still one of Bruce Willis‘ best efforts.