Careful, Flavor Flav may sue for some variation of copyright infringement.

Theatrical Release Date: 10/15/2010
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine

Most mainstream comic books are about young, muscular, super-powered men and women fighting against bad people in search of world domination or creating general chaos. However, writers Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner went another way with their creation, “RED”.

They postulated that a group of retired CIA agents still felt the call from time to time, keeping their skills up. When a few of them end up being targeted for termination, they band together to uncover the plot and foil the villain(s). It’s a super simple premise and one that lends itself well to a cinematic adaptation.

This brings about one of the most entertaining ensemble casts of the year. Between Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren, it’s nigh impossible to find an audience who wouldn’t enjoy at least one of them. Add in Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss and a cameo by Ernest Borgnine … well … you kind of have a perfect acting storm. What’s nice is that not only do you get the feeling they all had fun behind the camera but it shows on-screen as well.

Although Willis still gets to participate in a few physical action scenes, the smart move done here is going with a brains over brawn mentality. Although each of the cast shows no trepidation in using high-powered weapons, they also realize that time is catching up to them and try to outwit their opponents as much as possible. This allows the cleverness in their characters to shine and adds a nice touch to this offbeat action flick.

Director Robert Schwentke and the script don’t do anything else particularly clever but the cast is so much fun that it doesn’t matter. If you just want a good time and enjoy a little over-the-top action and an almost whimsical, quip-filled patter, then “RED” is for you and I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5.