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Wherein Helen Mirren demonstrates how to fire an automatic machine gun, which is: TOTALLY wearing a white ballgown.

Now, when I first saw him in ‘Moonlighting‘, I was staunchly undecided about Bruce Willis. Mainly it was that self-satisfied smirk. What did he have to look that smug about?

Hindsight shows us that, evidently, Bruce knew something we didn’t. Possibly many things. That Demi Moore would find him irresistible, or that hair would prove over-rated.

Unlike Harrison Ford or Rupert Everett, Bruce just improves with age. Ok, perhaps the first comparison is a little unfair, given that Harrison’s thirteen years older. However, I seem to recall that in Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Harrison was giving the famous Ford pop-eye to Anne Heche who was precisely half his age at the time. I would now express myself with a moving range of flatulence had I had the personality of a 15 year old teenage boy. Let’s all be thankful I don’t.

Anyway, we like Bruce (that’s the royal ‘we’). He’s just the type you want around when hitmen are dropping into your garden from a hovering helicopter. Or when you need to defuse a bomb under your kitchen. Let’s face it: there will never be a circumstance under which you wish Tom Cruise were handy (I can point at things quite adequately myself). Or Brad Pitt, because I can’t spare the hairdryer and, happily, my husband has more raw sex appeal and if you doubt me let me just refresh your memory.

What’s that you say: biased?

Who, ME?

Ok, well . . . SO?

Wanna start a Thing?

BRING IT.

Now, over the weekend we saw Bruce’s latest vehicle ‘Red’ at Top Town Cinema. So, um, I suppose it could best be described as a comedy action thriller with some romance.

Actually, ‘loud’ would probably have covered it.

Bruce stars as Frank, a retired ex-CIA black-ops employee, whose life revolves around pointless press-ups, growing an avocado plant, and tearing up his pension cheques so he has an excuse to call the Customer Service Rep. This is Mary Louise Parker, who – I’ll be upfront about it – ranks at the Jolie end of the scale i.e. (for those who are not familiar with my Tyler/Jolie Scale of Unbearableness) annoys the crap out of me, yes, even in ‘Weeds’. Anyway, in ‘Red’ she plays another annoying character, one who is more interested in having telephone sex with OAPs than doing her fucking job yet sees no irony in bemoaning her lacklustre love-life.

This state of affairs all changes when a squad of hit-men break into The Bruce’s house to rub him out. Bruce dispatches them all within about three seconds of screen-time by strangling them with his dressing gown cord.

Stopping en-route to pick up a protesting Mary Louise Parker for her own protection (thankfully he also duct-tapes her mouth shut, presumably for the viewers’ protection), Bruce goes on the run. On the way, he attempts to figure out who’s trying to retire him permanently, the answer to which involves many interested parties including big business, politicians, and the good old CIA; and so complex as to make virtually no sense whatsoever.

Bruce also finds some spare time to get his old team together, all of whom are also classified RED – ‘Retired, Extremely Dangerous’. If the baddies had only done a little due diligence and watched Diehard with a Fucking Vengeance, they would have realized how ED Bruce Willis is.

In fact, this constitutes one of my main issues with the film. Bruce and his cohorts – John Malkovitch, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren – are apparently inviolable, which is nice for them, but doesn’t make for much in the way of dramatic tension.

Even when Bruce breaks into the impregnable CIA HQ, how about a bit of decapitation or something to demonstrate how dangerous it is? I don’t want to be TOLD it’s a suicide mission, then watch Bruce strolling around smirking at trained CIA operatives who want to kill him if they only knew it.

The other thing was, the movie should have been MUCH funnier. So much potential, but the jokes all seemed tired – in fact, exhausted would be a better word. For example, Bruce chatting up MLP on the phone, who mentions she’d like to travel, go to Chili; she asks if he’s ever been and what it was like.

Afterwards, he smacks himself around in a horny orgy of self-loathing, for responding, “It was night.” Granted, it’s not the smoothest of responses, but there are worse. “I had Delhi-belly the whole time,” for instance, or, “Sometimes I think of you licking stamps and masturbate.”

In another scene, MLP reads ‘Forbes’ upside down in the CIA staff canteen. Now, if actors are paid seven-figure salaries, shouldn’t they be required to PROJECT distraction instead of resorting to reading a magazine upside-down? At this point, I’m convinced Forbes actually prints some editions with the cover on upside down so that actors don’t have to strain themselves.

Then we had Helen Mirren settling in for some girl-chat over an automatic weapon. “If you break (Frank’s) heart,” she threatens MLP, “I’ll kill you then bury your body in the woods.”

I suppose, coming from a career assassin, it was supposed to leap off the screen with a new twist, but it just . . . didn’t.

So, as to how many stars to award Red, I’m conflicted. No doubt, the film was above-average entertainment. But with that cast – which was so awesome I forgot to even mention Karl Urban – and the concept – it should have been SO MUCH BETTER.

The execution should have been a clean kill, but was sloppy and indecisive.

The action was over-crisp, yet under-cooked.

It hurts me to do this, but I wouldn’t be doing justice to either you or me if I didn’t deduct a star for the wasted potential. Trust me. The alternative would hurt A LOT more.

2/5

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Comments on: "Film review: RED movie" (10)

  1. Cian said:

    I’m tempted to misplace a packet of Tayto. (Did I tell you that I only have one packet – well we were only supposed to send 1 box with An Post, but ended up with 4 which cost a small fortune). Why you ask? Well maybe you didn’t, but I shall pretend you did.

    Mary Louise Parker on the Angelina side of the scale! I love her in Weeds. I think that you are a bit harsh. Perhaps the move to the South Island was for a better climate to grow certain crops? I think you might be jealous as you have not been as successful as her in the Sales department, or that Jed has dug them up too many times.

    But I have to agree she is a bit one dimensional in this film. As for reading Forbes up side down. Well actually there were numerous things in the film which were shown for the IQ challenged among us. I am thinking of a scene with handcuffs at the end of the movie for example. Doh! There were so many other obvious things but there was a couple behind us at the cinema who were constantly surprized or shocked. Normally I hate people talking at the cinema, but with this film it did not really matter and I guess at times they were providing more comedy than the film was.

    And you only gave it 2/5. A bit harsh in my opinion. I would adding a point back on for Helen Mirren looking so elegant in the White Ballgown, and for Bruce Willis finally making you (well me anyway) look twice at him. I mean in Moonlighting all I wanted to do was slap him across the face. I didn’t even know what a garbage disposal unit was, but I knew that I wanted to shove Cybill Shepherd into one.

    p.s. Is Husband being a spy in Kenmare? or just thinking if she takes another photo I’m going to ram that camera down her throat.

  2. deadlyjelly said:

    What are you talking about? I LOVE MARY LOUISE PARKER. Or at least, I pledge to do so until I have Taytos in my grasping clutches.

    I know 2/5 seems harsh, but only on the surface. I mean, LOOK AT THAT CAST; this movie should have been 5/5. I should have left the cinema so excited I didn’t notice I was dribbling popcorn down my front, babbling about any number of glorious technicolour moments. Instead, the first thing I said afterwards was, “Did you eat all the popcorn?”

    Undoubtedly, Helen looked TERRIFIC, especially in that white ballgown. But I’ve been a closet fan of Bruce’s for years – as you will see from the link above to Diehard with a Fucking Vengeance.

    I think someone might have finally shoved Cybill into a garbage disposal unit, since she appears to have sunk without a trace. And bless her, she was rubbish.

    PS Thanks for suggesting Husband looks like a spy, we’re both pleased with that assessment.

    x

  3. Cian said:

    Yeah, with that cast one should expect more, but thankfully we had seen the trailer and knew not to expect much.

    How does one dribble popcorn down their front. Ice cream I can understand, but popcorn?

  4. deadlyjelly said:

    I think I was going EASY deducting only one star for all that thwarted expectation.

    In my case, one simply opens ones mouth and one never knows what’s going to dribble out.

    x

  5. I’m looking forward to the deadlyjelly review of “Get him to the Greek”. Sort your shite out and get to it girlfriend!

    That is all .

  6. deadlyjelly said:

    MarkJ – ok, we watched Get Him to the Greek last night. Thanks for that; we really needed two hours of visual abuse, but were beyond thrilled that it was supported by two hours of aural pillage as well.

    Worst. Movie. Ever. Conceived.

    Even more abysmal than The Postman.

    Just AWFUL beyond words.

    That is all.

    x

  7. Hey – last time I checked this film didn’t have Angelina Jolie in it…

    Still; I expected the fireworks, hence my recommendation 🙂

  8. Cian said:

    OMG – they (I can’t bring myself to talk to you about this) went to see/watched “Get Him to the Greek”. Seriously why oh why??? Was the brain switched off that day?

    I wonder if they watched it on DVD? Could they not have turned it off like after the trailers or something? Instead of the age warning “This movie is only suitable for over 15 year olds due to scenes of a sexual nature” it should have been something like “This movie is not suitable for anybody as it is total crap”

    Listen I have too many questions on this. I’m switching off before I say something rash.

    But before I do I should clarify that I have not seen the movie. Maybe there are people out there who do enjoy this sort of torture.

  9. Sorry Cian, but in order to truly be outraged you must watch it 🙂

    Mind you, showing dearestJelly the Godfather, she would undoubtedly complain about the Italian/mafia stereotypes while at the same time extolling the virtues of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

    She is a fickle movie watcher, who I’m still trying to get a lock on – so to speak….

  10. deadlyjelly said:

    Cian – I only watched Get Him to the Greek because MarkJ recommended it. At this stage, I think he should start only referring movies he thinks are shite; I’m sure I’ll love them.

    MarkJ – indeed, if Cian watches Get Him to the Greek, he will be truly outraged.

    Fickle? I prefer mysteriously contrary.

    x

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