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November 15, 2010 / Prof Cupcake.

RED: never retire

Things I’ve learned from film

2: never retire.

There are times when I feel that my career might face a similar trajectory as the titanic. Lots of well wishes and promises before BOOM sizzle sizzle sunk. YET for all the fear there is that illusive goal of retirement that draws me on into the day. REITREMENT. It seems nearly magical. You can read and really get down with your bad self and start doing the New York Times Sunday crossword for kicks. (if you are lucky… maybe Sudoku.) The world is now your pearl turned from that grain of sand.


This is not the case however if you are Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) who stars in the new pension age adventure comic book adaptation from summit, RED. For retired CIA agent Frank Moses, life has had all the fun sucked out of it. So in his spare time he rips up his pension checks so he can chat to Sarah, (Mary-Louise Parker) on the phone. Their romance is sweet and probably would never have gone any where had a team of trained assassins not broken into — house in order to, you guessed it, kill him.  Seems this old guy knew to much. As did roughly 11 other people, all of whom are now dead. by combining forces with Sarah, Victoria (Helen Mirrian), Joe (Morgan Freeman) and Marvin (John Malcovitch) the team or retiree’s begin a mission to take down the man who is ordering those hits.


Thanks to director Robert Schwentke lack of clear vision as to the central themes and style of RED, the entire film flounders. The film could be a manual about the suspension of disbelief. Now I am in no way arguing that our movies need to all be gritty real, adventure stories, but plausible character motivation would be at least appreciated. This film lacks that in spades. Thanks to the slow reveal of the plot as well, a device normally used to heighten suspense, the audience simply feels that they to are aging, rather then experiencing a story. Furthermore this film seem sat time unable to decide if it owes its allegiance to 1980’s hard boiled action films or the more camp comic book of the now. As such the action sequence seem quilted together out of disparate elements and the end result is a film with out clear vision.


This said, the film has some great comic moments and ML Parker proves that even with a haggard script she can make her eyes alone dance circles around the words while Helen Mirrian, being sensational in most things, (including the WII fit adds) is more or less sensational. Bruce Willis seems terrified that he’s aging and has combated that bad boy with a facelift.


I would recommend watching it if it comes on the TV but a full fledged trip to the cinema does not seem in order. I would say save this film for a rainy day. For maybe if you watch it then, what you hopefully will see is we can never really retire from the things we love most, so life (and work) should be about making our work be what we love in life.


Even if the thing that really tickles you pink is working as part of an elite team of trained black ops who travel the globe reeking havoc on behalf of the American government.



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