However bad a film is, the producers usually manage to find a way to hype the whole thing up so we don’t know, until we’ve already paid for our ticket, that this is yet another old stoker that we’ve seen a million times before.
Red is another old stoker (and some) but the blurb just tells it like it is which means that Hollywood producers are either concerned with the happiness of the movie-going public or the story is so boring even they can’t talk it up.
Issued by Summit Entertainment – ‘Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is a former CIA agent who is now living a quiet life alone. That is, until the day a hi-tech hit squad shows up intent on killing him. With his identity compromised and the life of Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), a woman he deeply cares for, endangered, Frank reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive’.
Apart from this excruciating lack of originality, it takes Willis ages to round up the usual suspects which creates a disjointed feel and, with a vague back story related to some far away country, the relationship between screen and audience remains remote. As hard as the actors try, it stays that way to the end.
And talking about endings, our hero is excluded from the final battle, which makes as much sense as making a comedy with just the one funny line which, FYI, is an insulting remark about Willis’ absent hairline. The rest of the story trundles on but never builds, so it’s all very episodic.
In fact, the only thing going for this film is the actors’ star-appeal which, I assume, the producers are hoping will be enough to put bums on seats. But with a buzzing internet firing rotten tomatoes by the gazillion, the days of this approach are numbered and Hollywood is going to have to start thinking up other ways to achieve box office success.
Maybe sending out scripts to a few film critics before production begins would be a good place to start. As they all know, we never turn down an opportunity to tear someone’s baby to pieces.
This film doesn’t make anyone look good, although Helen Mirren does try really hard by changing into a second fur coat which, as an ex CIA agent on the run, is a little bizarre. I realize I shouldn’t have been paying so much attention to Ms Mirren’s wardrobe, but when you’re watching a film that seems to have no point, the only thing left to do is sit and bitch.
(By the way, Helen, I don’t think the first outfit works for you at all. Bobble hats are always going to be a gamble once you’re past 30 so maybe you should stick to what becomes you and is a little more sophisticated – something like a crown, perhaps?)
USA – 15 October 2010
UK – 22 October 2010