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Red: Movie Review

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As comic book movies go, Red is one of the best. It's an adrenaline-packed film that gives our elders a shot at being the action heroes. Pulling from a D.C. Comics graphic novel, Red stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren as ex-spies whose quiet lives are turned upside down when they are put on a hit list.

Hilarity and edge-of-your-seat action ensues. However, violence is a problem in Red. It's carnage really. Foul language is another offense parents should know about.


Frank (Bruce Willis) is a medicated, lonely man with a mundane life, now that he's retired. His CIA past catches up with him though when he's greeted by an ops team sent to kill him. Concerned for the safety of his old team, Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), and Victoria (Helen Mirren), as well as, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), his only non-spy friend, Frank re-engages the ex-agents' specialized skills to stay ahead of their pursuers, leading them to one of the biggest cover-ups in government history.


The title of the film, Red, stems from the stamp seen on Frank's classified file meaning "retired, extremely dangerous". Though the script, written by brothers Joe and Erich Hoeber, is based on the graphic novel, it delves much deeper into this interesting storyline, adding a few plot changes and characters into the mix. Surprisingly enough, the Hoeber brothers, who scripted the box office bomb, Whiteout (Kate Beckinsale), do an impressive job with this movie's script, building a thrilling story centering the action around themes of teamwork, the fight to expose corruption, and sacrifice. With a talented crew and cast to pull it off, Red also is actually quite funny.

Director Robert Schwentke can count on Red bringing in better box office numbers than his previous films, including The Time Traveler's Wife and Flightplan. His all-star cast is a big help. Worldwide audiences have been used to seeing Bruce Willis in action movies since his glory days in the Die Hard series. His mastery of the action role is only one-upped by the fact that in Red he's the old kid on the block, yet he can still hold his own. Joining him on screen are three acting legends: Academy Award winners Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren, and Oscar-nominated John Malkovich. Watching these three wield automatic weapons is a real sight. And though some of the action sequences are completely unbelievable, it is movie action at its best with loud explosions and smooth moves.

The nature of an action movie seems to call for at least minimal violence. With regard to Red, the word “minimal” doesn't come close to describing what moviegoers can expect to see on screen. Point blank range shots are taken. A man hangs. Cut off fingers are shown in an envelope. A man even explodes. And of course, there is a considerable amount of shooting and hand-to-hand fighting.

Obscenities and profanity are used by multiple characters in Red. God and His son's name are used in vain ways, and the f-bomb is dropped once. The film also includes drug references. One of the characters was forced by the CIA to take LSD daily for 11 years. The effects are apparent on-screen, resulting in an implicit stance against the use of illicit drugs.


If it weren't for the offensive content, this action/comedy would have received a higher rating. Red's violent nature and foul language, which seems offly close to R-rated territory, makes it entirely unsuitable for children.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's