If you take a look at it, it's pretty obvious why old people aremedicated so heavily.
If you can think of a better way to turn them into a miracle cure-allus young people will one day be able to grind up, snort, and cure ourcancer, I'd like to hear it. You didn't really think the governmenthad no plan to combat the ever-expanding Social Security budget, didyou? What did you think the whole "soylent aspirin" thing was about?
As always, Hollywood operates by different rules, and old people areno different. There, once a man passes beyond the point of sexiness,he's got the choice to become an eccentric inventor, a wise butpossibly foul-mouthed grandpa, or retro comic relief. Old women canbe...I dunno, stowed safely in the attic or something. But if recentmovies like Red are any indication, the aged now have a newoption: cunning, sniper rifle-toting studbag.
Retiree Bruce Willis has little to look forward to in life beyond hischats with federal customer service rep Mary-Louise Parker. Untilsomeone 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 ownsafety, but he's going to need the help of some old pals if he's goingto 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 kickour asses? What if, unlike in real life, where they can onlyexact their vengeance on those of us with smooth skin and non-revokeddrivers licenses by electing senators who once refused Cro-Magnon menthe vote, they could also chop our throats out? Or take our guns awayand shoot us with them? What then?
If this movie is any indication, they'd end up being sporadicallyfunny, but not really as funny as they'd like to be.
This despite a cast where Willis and Parker have Morgan Freeman, JohnMalkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox backing them up. They bring alot to the material -- which is two parts "Ah, the good old days" andone part "Hey, remember when we were both protozoa and I tried to stabyou with that knife, but it didn't work, because everything was madeof goo?" -- but director Robert Schwentke rarely drums up the energy tosupport them.
This isn't always true; a dockside fight full of grenades and rocketsis pretty damn funny. But for the most part, Schwentke runs Redwith an affable tone that always feels this close to turningoutright 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 funbecause the score won't shut up about it, but at least it feels likemore of a suggestion than an order."
It's a little forced, likely due to the script. I haven't read thecomic Red was adapted from -- you know, because of the whole"reading" thing, I don't care how many pictures it's got -- but this hasthe feel of something that gets the outline right, yet can't capturethe 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 theaction or the reminiscing the same way they did. Maybe you had to bethere.