Take one of our most “deadly” intelligence agents from the cold war and prior and retire him. Imagine the life he led before being forced to live in a small house in a lonely suburb. Try to think of the banality that he must suffer through day-to-day, trying to find some purpose to live while the agency sees no more use for him. All of that changes when the CIA sends a strike team to end his life because of the secrets he knows.
As an audience, we have gotten a little out of hand as to what we believe intelligence operatives do and are capable of. Much like ninja, cowboys and pirates, we know they exist but because their existence is out of our reach we tend to glamorize them. This film definitely adds to the mythical nature of secret agents and hired killers.
Frank, played by Bruce Willis, is a lot like Jason Bourne, but when his retired status is changed from green to RED he has to hunt down the people responsible for ordering his death, despite his lack of reason to live. Gathering a misfit team to help him in this inane quest is Joe, played by Morgan Freeman, Marvin, played by John Malkovich, and Victoria, played by Helen Mirren.
This is another Hollywood film where they try to drag you in with big names and a fun concept. It doesn’t take you long in this film to realize that you had been duped and wasted your hard earned money for another tinseltown ruse. This obvious paycheck for all the stars of this film was full of phoned-in performances and lightly considered interactions.
By taking the concept of one man’s quest to gain an understanding of his changed agent status to a movie about a group of government spooks, you lose the whole theme and charm of the original story. Afraid of making a gritty spy film that would be in the spirit of The Bourne Identity, instead they made some amalgamation of The A-Team and Space Cowboys. At some point in the movie you would expect Danny Glover or Clint Eastwood to make a cameo and make a crack about getting old.
This sorry excuse for a film is Warner Bros attempt to comb through their library of literary property. Perhaps they are intimidated that Disney recently acquired Marvel and has been having a lot of success with it. Except they have not learned from Marvel. You don’t cut the balls off of your story and hope to sell it to everyone. Keep to the spirit of the original property and sell it as a new medium and the audience will come flying.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language.