If you take a look at it, it's pretty obvious why old people are medicated so heavily.
If you can think of a better way to turn them into a miracle cure-all us young people will one day be able to grind up, snort, and cure our cancer, I'd like to hear it. You didn't really think the government had no plan to combat the ever-expanding Social Security budget, did you? What did you think the whole "soylent aspirin" thing was about?
As always, Hollywood operates by different rules, and old people are no different. There, once a man passes beyond the point of sexiness, he's got the choice to become an eccentric inventor, a wise but possibly foul-mouthed grandpa, or retro comic relief. Old women can be...I dunno, stowed safely in the attic or something. But if recent movies like Red are any indication, the aged now have a new option: cunning, sniper rifle-toting studbag.
Retiree Bruce Willis has little to look forward to in life beyond his chats with federal customer service rep Mary-Louise Parker. Until someone sends a hit squad to his house.
Turns out he's retired from the CIA. His past has caught up with him, and Parker's now a target as well. Willis kidnaps her for her own safety, but he's going to need the help of some old pals if he's going to figure out why he's in the crosshairs and how he can get out alive.
Red proposes the question of what if old people could kick our asses? What if, unlike in real life, where they can only exact their vengeance on those of us with smooth skin and non-revoked drivers licenses by electing senators who once refused Cro-Magnon men the vote, they could also chop our throats out? Or take our guns away and shoot us with them? What then?
If this movie is any indication, they'd end up being sporadically funny, but not really as funny as they'd like to be.
This despite a cast where Willis and Parker have Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox backing them up. They bring a lot to the material -- which is two parts "Ah, the good old days" and one part "Hey, remember when we were both protozoa and I tried to stab you with that knife, but it didn't work, because everything was made of goo?" -- but director Robert Schwentke rarely drums up the energy to support them.
This isn't always true; a dockside fight full of grenades and rockets is pretty damn funny. But for the most part, Schwentke runs Red with an affable tone that always feels this close to turning outright wacky. What do we call this trait? The Stealth Wack? No, that's terrible. Call it "you can tell we're supposed to be having fun because the score won't shut up about it, but at least it feels like more of a suggestion than an order."
It's a little forced, likely due to the script. I haven't read the comic Red was adapted from -- you know, because of the whole "reading" thing, I don't care how many pictures it's got -- but this has the feel of something that gets the outline right, yet can't capture the specifics that made the work worth adapting in the first place.
Schwentke handles Red's fast-paced plot well enough, however, and the cast is perpetually charming. I just couldn't get into the action or the reminiscing the same way they did. Maybe you had to be there.