Remember those Irwin Allen disaster movies from the ’70s? Movies like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno were supported by large casts and even bigger stars (especially Inferno with Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire and Richard Chamberlain). The upcoming actioneer RED (short for Retired Extremely Dangerous) sort of feels like that. Among the stars you have Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban and Richard Dreyfuss, and plenty more – including an actor that helped Kurt Russell escape from New York. The highlight of the trailer, for me at least, is Helen Mirren sporting heavy artillery. It looks to be fun, but you never can tell with trailers nowadays. Since it is based on a comic mini-series (released through DC Comics) and is being distributed by Summit Entertainment, maybe it won’t suck as hard as Jonah Hex.
Red is the story of Frank Moses (Willis), a former black-ops CIA agent, who is now living a quiet life. That is, until the day a hi-tech assassin shows up intent on killing him. With his identity compromised and the life of the woman he cares for, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), endangered, Frank reassembles his old team (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren) in a last ditch effort to survive.
RED is based on the Wildstorm comics, which is a label of DC Comics, and is directed by Robert Schwentke, who also directed Flightplan and most recently The Time Traveler’s Wife. Erich and Jon Hoeber, who also wrote the comic adaptation of Whiteout starring Kate Beckinsale, handle the writing duties of bringing Warren Ellis’ comic mini-series to the big screen.
On Ellis’ blog he fielded some questions about RED and explains what to expect:
- …did you see the goddamn cast list that’s signed on for those characters? Bruce Willis as Moses, yes. But also: Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, John C Reilly, Helen Mirren, Julian McMahon, Brian Cox, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Dreyfus. It reminds me a bit of those 70s films like THE TOWERING INFERNO, that had in them everyone you wanted to see in a film, all at once. RED is a bit like that, only with more automatic weapons.
The tone: People who’ve enjoyed the graphic novel will have to accept that it’s an adaptation and that by definition means that it’s going to be a different beast from the book. The film has the same DNA. It retains bits that are very clearly from the book, as well as, of course, the overall plotline. But it is, yes, lighter, and funnier. And if anyone has a real problem with that, I say to you once again:
Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle.
I mean, if you don’t want to see a film with Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle, I’m not sure I want to know you.
The man’s got a point.
Summit Entertainment will unload RED in theaters on October 15, 2010.