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Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Well-cast action comedy is entertaining -- but very violent.

Movie PG-13 2010 111 minutes
RED Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 17 parent reviews

age 18+

A movie for old people with perverted, meaningless lives. Hugely disappointing.

I read the parents’ review before showing this movie, but the review did not reflect the amount of inappropriate sexual innuendo or disordered relationships present in the movie. Near the beginning of the movie, Bruce Willis (who is receiving social security) woos this woman (over the phone) who is young enough to be his daughter - the age gap is actually pretty gross; subsequently both of them are shown (separately) reading romance novels; at the end of the movie they kiss passionately in the back of a car. Another ‘date’ of this woman asks to go up to her apartment after dinner because he ‘paid for’ her dinner, clearly implying that he wants sex in exchange. The woman takes off her clothes down to an extremely revealing undershirt. There is a scene in the movie where she is trying to escape bondage, and it is clear that we are meant to focus on her bouncing breasts, which look as if they’re about to pop out of her shirt. Oh yeah, and she is in bondage because Bruce (the ‘protagonist’ in the movie) supposedly wants to protect her from people that are after him - but suggesting to children that it is ever right to tie up and duct tape a woman is really creepy. When Bruce first arrives to greet her, it’s not at the front door - he hides in her apartment and pops out without her knowing he’s there. Again, disturbing and inappropriate. Morgan Freeman stares pervertedly at a young woman’s butt for an extended period of time, with commentary from Bruce ensuing. At one point John Malkovich has a large knife pointed at Bruce’s privates and Bruce asks him to get the knife out of his ‘balls.’ On top of all this, the movie was NOT funny - I was surprised because all the reviews rave about how entertaining it is. Yeah, the cast is good but that’s where it ends. It is slapstick and predictable. I’ve pretty much concluded that the movie is for perverted old people who want to see some famous actors shooting guns. I’ve shown my kids Black Rain, Aliens, Silver Bullet - tons of movies that have plots so that you can forgive some weirdness. But this movie really has no redeeming qualities.
age 14+

An generic action/comedy movie with lots of guns and shooting

This movie has lots of action and shooting scenes, most of it is bloodless. There is some swearing throughout. Parents may have a problem with the main characters because they are ex-assassins. There are some sexual references and talk.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (17 ):
Kids say (45 ):

Willis and the gang are clearly having a blast playing off of each other. Parker has remarkable comic timing, infusing lines like "Well I was hoping you'd have hair" (to Willis) with a style that actresses half her age can't muster. Mirren is equally as delightful, lobbing zingers like "If you hurt him, I'll kill you and bury your body in the woods" so well that you don't know whether to cringe or laugh. And when Malkovich asks, "Can I kill him now?" it's like an impatient small child pleading for his dessert, and the resulting humor is infectious. The supporting cast does well, too. Brian Cox, one of those chameleonic actors who can play a Russian spy in Red as easily as King Lear, always adds value to an ensemble, and he doesn't disappoint. And Urban, who was Dr. McCoy in Star Trek, should be cast in action films more often. He's got a steely look and a powerful charisma that works whether he's straight-laced as in Red or bad-boy like The Bourne Supremacy. But he's the young 'un, and this movie definitely belongs to the over-55 actors, all of whom prove that with age comes a mastery of craft that, with the right script is, as Sarah would say, "awesome."

Unlike the rough-and-tumble stars of ensemble action movie The Expendables (which Willis graced with a small cameo), all of Willis' retired secret-op friends in RED are played by Academy Award winners or nominees. That makes a huge difference in the expectation and delivery of performances. It's unthinkable that Jason Statham or Dolph Lundgren would take on Shakespearean adaptations, but within context of this movie, Malkovich, Freeman, and even Mirren are all quite believable as government operatives who've spent their careers tracking down and assassinating people. How wonderful that a movie in which the youngest actor, Urban, is 38, and the oldest, Ernest Borgnine, is 93, could be so thrilling and funny that you never once miss the busty or hunky eye-candy that usually appears in action films.

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