'Red': The Reviews Are In!

In Bruce Willis CIA flick, 'The gags fly as fast and as furious as the bullets,' critic says.

This weekend, a film featuring a bunch of over-the-hill heroes performing death-defying stunts will hit theaters. I'm talking, of course, about "Red" — not Johnny Knoxville's "Jackass 3D."

"Red" stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich as retired CIA black-ops who get pulled back into a life peppered with machine-gun fire and warmed by explosions galore. It's first-rate material, though it doesn't seem Willis and his cohorts will be able to defeat the "Jackass" crew at the box office.

That's not to say "Red" isn't winning plaudits from critics. Reviews thus far have been largely positive. Here's what folks are saying:

The Story

"A typically amiable Bruce Willis leads the charge as ex-agent Frank Moses, whose quiet suburban home is ambushed out of the blue. Turns out, Frank and his former colleagues ([Helen] Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich) are all on a hit list. ... Like the others, Frank is happy in retirement and just wants a low-key life, with a low-key girlfriend (Mary-Louise Parker). But once a CIA hotshot (Karl Urban) is also assigned to 'silence' them, he and his partners find themselves back at work — and realize just how much they've missed it." — Elizabeth Weitzman,

target="_blank">New York Daily News

The Performances

"Willis and Parker, whose eyes burn like black cinders, work up a fine, fiery chemistry; Malkovich recalls his similarly unhinged human time bomb in 'Burn After Reading' as a man haunted by the sins of the CIA's past; and Mirren, looking sensational as always, tucks into her role with winking relish. ('I kill people, dear,' she confides sweetly to Sarah when they meet; later, during a stakeout with a high-powered rifle, they commiserate about guys as if they were getting a mani-pedi.)" — Ann Hornaday,

target="_blank">The Washington Post

The Action & The Laughs

"Wackiness ensues, and the gags fly as fast and as furious as the bullets — and there are plenty of those. Part of the fun of action movies is that they are inherently silly; the key is hitting the right notes without going too far, something that recent releases such as 'The Losers' and 'The A-Team' failed to do. Screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber know this. They and director Robert Schwentke strike a careful balance between quasi-cartoonish shoot-outs and oddball humor, which ranges from droll to silly without ever going too far over the top." — Gary Dowell, The Dallas Morning News

The Dissenters

"I know terms like 'caring' and 'motivation' are probably quaint when discussing a movie of this type, but as long as we're being asked to spend nearly two hours rooting for these people to be better shots than the people shooting at them, is it too much to ask for a reason we should take their side? 'Red' simultaneously tries too hard and not hard enough: It keeps up a steady, frantic barrage of bullets, blood and wisecracks, but never manages to convince us that anyone involved — characters, actors, filmmakers or audience — is having any fun." — Dana Stevens,

target="_blank">Slate

The Final Word

" 'Red' has more snappy joy in store than practically all of last summer's busted blockbusters, and it's as zippy on its feet as a third-grader. I look forward to a sequel in which, I hope, the 'Red' gang will school those humorless old dopes from 'The Expendables.' The losing team buys the winners dinner — at 4:30." — Kyle Smith,

target="_blank">New York Post

Check out everything we've got on "Red."

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