I’ve been hearing a lot of comparisons between this over-the-top comic book action flick and The Expendables, another recent over-the-top action flick. I don’t think the comparisons are with merit. Why? Because one of them is laughably enjoyable, while the other is just laughable.
If you’re going to make a movie that spoofs an entire genre, then make your spoofing more obvious. We’re led to believe, I think, that Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman don’t want to be taken seriously as a slew of retired spies trying to clear their names. But they sure as shit seem to be taking the whole ordeal very seriously. Although, not as much as their director.
However, I must admit that it is immensely enjoyable to watch Dame Mirren standing behind a giant ass machine gun, straight-faced as she blasts bad guys halfway to hell. Yeah, that’s badass (and, ahem, kind of hot). The rest of the film, however, is not.
Shit blows up, people give long speeches before they fail at killing someone, visual effects are used to achieve wild stunts; and it’s all so kid-friendly. What’s with rating these balls-to-the-wall action flicks PG-13? Lame.
Malkovich is getting damn good at perfecting neurotic, LSD-laced characters, and Freeman and Willis have enjoyed cashing out their last few flicks, but it’s all so damn tired.
I liked The Expendables, for the same reason I enjoyed Piranha 3D: they don’t take themselves seriously. Red is more than a throwaway action movie, it’s a throwaway action movie that wants to be treated as a decent action movie. Sorry. D