Family movie night? There's an app for that
Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie's message -- that senior citizens are still vibrant and useful -- is a worthwhile take-away in our youth-obsessed culture. Although there are some obvious conspiracy-theory messages about defense contractor firms and the government, overall the story is about retirees you wouldn't want to mess with. On the downside, the way that Frank and Sarah's relationship starts (with him drugging and abducting her -- with the goal being to rescue her) is pretty iffy.
Positive Role Models
Sarah trusts Frank enough to help him uncover the truth. Frank embarks on a fact-finding mission to clear his name and save himself and his friends from being murdered; another character selflessly agrees to sacrifice himself to ensure that the mission can go forward. Marvin overcomes his fears to join the RED team.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of violence and a high body count. Once the protagonist is first ambushed, barely a scene passes in which people aren't trying to kill or not be killed. People are shot to death, blown up (quite vividly), stabbed, hanged, and burned. Severed fingers are shown, and a couple of scenes include bloodied characters (especially when shot) and heavily bruised ones. Weapons include everything from everyday office supplies to rocket-propelled guns, and you'd probably need a military background to identify everything in between.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Hand-holding, a couple of passionate kisses and embraces, and one early scene in which a female character undresses down to her slip. One character stares at a woman's bottom. Two characters' romantic relationship begins when one ties the other up and drugs her as part of a rescue.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Words like "s--t," "bitch," and "a--hole" are used infrequently; one "f--k." Also "hell," "damn," "ass," "goddamn," and "oh my God."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Mostly cars like Volvo and and the Chevy Tahoe, as well as an older Chevrolet sedan.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters drink socially and do shots of vodka in a couple of scenes. There's also a reference to the many years that Marvin was given LSD as part of a military experiment. One character drugs another as part of an abduction/rescue -- the drugged character makes a reference to feeling "high" when she wakes up.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while this graphic novel-based action comedy is rated PG-13, its violence -- which is comparable to movies like Casino Royale and The Bourne Identity (also PG-13s) definitely approaches R-rated levels of intensity. The action sequences may be accompanied by plenty of laughs, but the body count is high and the weapons military-grade. On the plus side, there's no overt sexuality, and the language is standard issue for the rating ("s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," etc.). Teens will also take away the positive message that senior citizens can still "kick butt"; it's good for kids to realize that the elderly aren't all meek and frail -- most of them had long (and in this case exciting) careers before they retired. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.