Saturday, May 28, 2016

3 Short Paragraphs: Seeing RED

R.E.D., 2010, Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) -- Netflix
RED 2, 2013, Dean Parisot (lots of TV) -- download

You could say that 2010 was the break out year for the multitudinous glut of comic book based movies, and TV, that we now live with. After the remarkable success of Iron Man, the studios felt the need to bring anything comic to the screen. This was also the post-Graphic Novel age, so there was literally tons of source material that wasn't always straight superhero. The we-don't-need-original-material was in full bloom. Out of this came a relatively unknown and small actioner piece from Warren Ellis about a reactivated CIA hitman. In 3 issues he tells rather simple but compelling tale of violence, death and skill. Guy shoots people creatively with good writing.

R.E.D. the movie pretty much tells the base tale, but transposes it into a somewhat light violence-comedy. Bruce Willis is Moses, the reactivated CIA hitman on the hunt to find out who wants him dead. He has been retired for years and crushing on his pension check handler. In the quest, he bumps into more retired hitmen, including Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren, in sort of a Expendables style gathering of old, violent people. It's mostly bullets to the head interspersed by funny lines and a meet cute as Willis kidnaps his handler and is forced into a relationship by his friends. It is decently likable.

RED 2 is the entirely unnecessary sequel. Again he and his girlfriend find themselves hunted because of his CIA past,  but this time they get wrapped up in an old End the World scenario and have to play the heroes. Again, it's not done badly, in fact all things presented are quite fun, especially the adoration between KGB spy played by Brian Cox and Helen Mirren. Cox just absorbs the role. But it was all familiar and not very inspired. We already know how I hate sequel-itis and this movie is full of it, from the recreation of "so many bullets flown they knock down Frank's house" to a hot, young male nemesis, Karl Urban in the first and Lee Byung-hun. But people will always like familiar, I guess.

P.S. An even more uninspired poster for 2.