It's a shame young people are only really interested in young people things. It explains why a joke of a movie like Jackass 3-D can outperform a fun action romp like Red. You'd think the box office returns would be more equal due to the fact that Red is based on a DC comics property, but no- Jackass won the weekend with $50 million, compared to Red's $22 million. Frankly, $22 million ain't too bad for a bunch of retirees in the middle of October.
If you haven't been following too closely, Red centers around retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a man so bored with his Centrum Silver days that he tears up his pension checks just to talk to a Social Security pay center operator he's got the hots for, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), until one night he can't sleep and finds a task force shooting up his house. Easily eliminating the intruders, but unable to save the house from almost total destruction, Frank heads out on a mission to find out why he's being shot at, and who's doing the shooting.His first order of business is to collect Sarah in Kansas City, where the bad guys are already hot on his trail. After abducting his telephone crush, Frank heads down to New Orleans, where we find the 80 year-old Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), clad in a velour jumpsuit, pulling the old broken television routine just so he can stare at a nurse's butt. Frank and Joe reconnect and Joe pulls some strings to find the first pieces of the puzzle. From there, it's off to the swamps of Florida to find Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), a wily conspiracy theorist who lives in a cramped fallout shelter beneath his "decoy" three-story house.
What follows is a fun action romp that never really gets tired, even though the main cast could all be hanging out at Century Village. There's a twisty plot involving an old mission in Guatemala, a crazy old Russian (Brian Cox), and a shady arms manufacturer (Richard Dreyfuss), complete with high-power artillery, car chases, explosions, and Helen Mirren firing a gatling gun.
Karl Urban once again proves that he's the man for most occasions, playing a CIA operative tasked with taking out the aging Moses, though he's not exactly the antagonist as much as he's a good man doing a dirty job, which makes the proceedings more interesting. Nip/Tuck heartthrob Julian McMahon turns in a serviceable performance as a sleazy Vice President, and Ernest Borgnine gets to pat the dust off his shoulders to play a role as the super-secret CIA records room caretaker. It's a minor role, and frankly, one that's really kind of there for exposition than anything else, but Borgnine still manages to inject his trademark charm into it.
I thoroughly enjoyed Red, but do have to admit that it feels somewhat dated in this day and age, and I'm not comparing it to Jackass 3-D. Given the subject matter, the material it's based on, and the way it's all played, Red might have seemed cutting edge if it had been released even five years ago. Ever since the Bond franchise took a harder, leaner direction, Red feels a little, well, old.
Still, it's a trifle compared to the amount of entertainment you get here, which is concentrated more on giving you a nice ride for your money than dragging you through the mud of the gritty underworld of espionage, or seeing how many bodies it can pile up, or seeing how many tanks it can make fly... well, you get the picture.
All in all, Red deserves your money, and because it's not in 3-D, it'll be cheaper than seeing Jackass a second time!