Do you want to see Morgan Freeman beat up Richard Dreyfuss? John Malkovich take out a rocket with a single bullet? Helen Mirren threaten to bury someone in the woods before unleashing Hell with a sniper rifle? Of course you do, so you should go and see RED. This movie is all about playing against type, with almost all of the principle cast not being well known for action roles. Bruce Willis, obviously, is the most well known for out-and-out balls to the wall action, and Karl Urban, perfecting his unemoting suit with balls ready for his next role as Judge Dredd, has done his fair share, but personally I’ve never seen Brian Cox unload an uzi on someone.
It’s refreshing too to see Hollywood actors playing their age, knowingly accepting put downs (“I wanted you to have hair”), and for the love interest to be a real, flawed person, albeit ten years younger than Willis, stuck in a dead end job, single with no prospects, plausibly forging a telephone relationship with someone she hasn’t met. It would have been easy to cast a younger, thinner, blonder identikit actress like Katherine Heigl or Rachel McAdams, but instead to use Mary Louise-Parker, more known for her TV work in Weeds and the West Wing, crows’ feet as defined as her comic timing and ability to hold her own with her more, ahem, experienced co-stars, is a welcome touch.
Thanks the heavens for the casting of Ernest Borgnine, deserving of my in-the-air fist-pump every time he came on the screen. The guy’s a legend.