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Robert Schwentke
Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker
Writing Credits:
Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

Box Office:
$58 million.
Opening Weekend
$21,761,408 on 3255 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $22.99
Release Date: 9/5/2017

• Audio Commentary with Movie Consultant/Retired CIA Agent Robert Baer
• “Access: Red” Interactive Feature
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Red [4K UHD] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 30, 2017)

We’ve gotten plenty of spy-related action thrillers over the years, but 2010’s Red comes with a twist – an old twist, in a sense, as it concentrates on aging/retired characters. This may sound like a gimmick, but it becomes an interesting and integral part of the movie.

Retired CIA operative Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) lives a life so lonely that he pretends he doesn’t receive pension checks to allow him to flirt with Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), the phone operator. He tries to move this forward with a visit to her base in Kansas City and a nerve-wracking in-person meeting.

Before this occurs, however, Frank’s past comes back to haunt him. A team comes to kill him, but he manages to take care of them and escape. He heads to Kansas City to keep Sarah out of harm’s way, as he assumes that the assassins will recognize a connection via their phone calls and come after her.

Rather than try to explain this seemingly farfetched story, Frank simply kidnaps Sarah and attempts to make her understand along the way. They hit the road so he can reassemble his old team of partners, find out what’s behind the intrigue, and stay alive.

As I alluded at the start, Red easily could’ve turned into nothing more than a high concept gimmick. Usually when a movie features old people playing young folks’ games, they tell us that age doesn’t matter but also show the elderly in ways that make them look foolish.

We don’t get that double standard in Red. It uses the characters’ ages for thematic resonance but not for laughs.

Instead, we see the characters as strong and active. Sure, the movie accentuates the notion that age-based retirement may put some valuable people out to pasture too soon, but that’s not something portrayed in the semi-hypocritical manner to which I earlier alluded.

These aren’t goofy oldsters who dare to think they can play ball with younger combatants. They’re awesome operatives who just happen to be a bit older than usual.

While I don’t think the movie’s success hinges on the twist, I can’t deny that the age-related theme gives us some jazz. Yes, the sight of so many 50-something and older characters kicking butt and taking names adds a fun factor that would be absent with younger participants.

But that’s not the movie’s primary appeal. Instead, it’s the caliber of the actors in place that brings a buzz to Red.

We get a simply outstanding cast here, with four Oscar-winners via Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Ernest Borgnine and Richard Dreyfuss as well as talents like Willis, Parker, John Malkovich and others. That’s a high-octane crew, and they bring an awful lot of heft to the experience.

Indeed, the actors likely add depth where little otherwise might exist. This is especially true for Parker, as she gets the movie’s most thankless role. Essentially Sarah exists as both plot device and deliverer of exposition.

On one hand, Sarah acts as a way to prompt a lot of action and to add danger. After all, we fear more for her safety than for those of the old pros. She’s the amateur more likely to get caught in the crossfire, and the movie uses her in the expected “damsel in distress” manner.

Sarah also needs to ensure that we get a lot of the story and character exposition. She helps fill in the blanks that otherwise wouldn’t need to be explained from one veteran to another.

All of this makes for a character who could easily function as little more than a narrative device. However, Parker’s spunky performance ensures that Sarah adds a lot more to the movie than that. She enables the appropriate elements to come out, but she brings along a fun spark that transcends the character’s pedestrian roots.

The other actors also deliver fine turns in their roles. Few need to stretch, but they seem invested and enjoyable.

In particular, Malkovich relishes his role as the gang’s nutbag. His Marvin is both kook and badass all at once, and Malkovich walks the line between those two sides in a delightful manner.

Director Robert Schwentke helps keep things together, and the movie comes with a surprisingly coherent plot. Flicks like this often become bogged down in their twists, but matters remain reasonably tight here; we never feel lost or befuddled by narrative matters, and Schwentke ensures that the flick cranks along at a good pace.

But not a frenetic one, and that’s a pleasant surprise. Too many modern action movies confuse non-stop camera movement and editing for excitement. Red isn’t a static movie, but it doesn’t suffer from those annoying trappings. It feels lively but not exhausting.

All of which make it a blast. Red doesn’t always fire on all cylinders, but I’d be hard-pressed to point out any notable flaws. The movie delivers a fun little thrill ride.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Red appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This was a mostly appealing presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well. Some softness crept in at times, but the majority of the flick seemed well-defined.

I noticed no issues with jaggies, shimmering or edge haloes, and source flaws were absent. This was a grainier than average image, though.

Colors seemed satisfying – and the movie went with a surprisingly natural palette. Oh, I noticed a teal tint here and an orange tone there – especially during the film’s climax - but the flick was usually fairly straight-ahead in terms of hues. They tended to be solid, without runniness or other issues.

Blacks were tight and firm, while shadows looked concise and clear. This wasn’t a killer presentation, but it represented the film in a satisfying manner.

As one expects from a big action flick, the Dolby Atmos soundfield – downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on my system - opened up in a dynamic manner. The many action sequences used the channels well, as vehicles, gunfire and other elements fleshed out the room in a compelling manner. The track used the surrounds in an involving way and made them active partners in the mix.

Audio quality always seemed strong. Speech came across as crisp and concise, without edginess or other concerns.

Music sounded lively and full, and effects were well reproduced. Those elements seemed consistently accurate and dynamic, and low-end was tight and deep. All in all, this was a more than satisfactory soundtrack.

How does the 4K UHD release compare to the original 2011 Blu-ray? Audio showed a bit more movement and punch, while visuals were more accurate and natural. The limitations of the source meant this didn’t become a great improvement, but the 4K UHD provided the more satisfying reproduction of the film.

A full roster of extras appears on the included Blu-ray disc, but a few also appear on the 4K UHD disc. I’ll note materials that show up on both with red print.

We find an audio commentary from movie consultant/retired CIA field officer Robert Baer. He offers a running, screen-specific chat that occasionally discusses aspects of the movie and his work on it. However, Baer usually concentrates on his life in the CIA.

And that’s the selling point, isn’t it? Early on, Baer tells us that the CIA requires operatives to sign a non-disclosure agreement, so it’s unclear how much he can’t legally tell us, but he offers quite a few good observations about life in the agency. The track occasionally sags, and it takes Baer a while to get into the process, but he manages to make this an intriguing discussion.

For elements more closely related to the film’s creation, we go to an interactive program called Access: Red. This runs alongside the movie itself and offers elements across six subdomains:

“Did You Know?”: Trivia tidbits about the film and connected topics.

“Damage Control”: Info about the movie’s mayhem, with an emphasis on the cost of repairs and punishments for infractions.

“Retired Hall of Fame”: Facts about former CIA agents.

“CIA Exposed”: Video clips with info about some of the CIA’s tawdrier activities.

“Cast Insights”: Interview material from producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura as well as actors Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Richard Dreyfuss, Rebecca Pidgeon, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Bruce Willis, Karl Urban, and Julian McMahon. They chat about cast and crew, locations and action scenes, characters and story, and costumes.

“Expert Intel”: Excerpts from Robert Baer’s audio commentary.

Though “Access” covers those six topics, don’t expect constant info on screen. Happily, it comes with the ability to skip ahead to the next tidbit, so you’re not stuck watching the entire movie; you can jump easily and don’t have to waste your time.

That’s a good bonus, as it makes “Access” much more enjoyable. The content itself is decent but not especially great. Still, they add a decent selection of insights about the movie and its real-life connections, so “Access” is reasonably productive.

10 Deleted and Extended Scenes occupy a total of eight minutes, 46 seconds. Most of these simply add a little to existing sequences, so they’re not especially memorable.

I do like the piece in which Marvin gripes about being called old, and we also see a little more about Cooper’s home life; those snippets would’ve added a bit of depth to the flick’s climax. Most of the cut pieces are pretty superfluous, though, and they’re too brief to make a positive or negative difference.

The Blu-ray disc opens with an ad for Fair Game. The 4K UHD disc also includes the trailer for Red.

A delightful action flick with a “high concept” twist, Red is a winner. It comes with a fun story, an excellent cast and a general sense of excitement that make it a consistent pleasure. The 4K UHD disc offers largely positive picture along with excellent audio and a generally informative set of supplements. While this won’t be the 4K UHD disc you use to impress friends, it does become an upgrade over the Blu-ray.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of RED

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