Not the best. Not the worst. Just the classiest Helen Mirren (and Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich and Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss) can spruce up any pulp. As far as comic-book adaptations go, though, Red is a little closer to the bright side of so-so somewhere between, let's say, Iron Man 2 and Ghost World on the patented Fanboy-oh-boyometer.
Based on a Warren Ellis three-issue toss-off, Red barely acknowledges its roots. The original a straight-ahead tale about a retired Company hit man named Frank Moses next on the CIA's to-do list because he's an embarrassing relic was bloody and humorless, with Frank eventually storming Langley and gutting all comers. Its big-screen counterpart, written by the brothers who made a mockery of the graphic novel Whiteout (Jon and Erich Hoeber) and directed by the man who made The Time Traveler's Wife (Robert Schwentke), is all grins and giggles a kid-friendly Kick-Ass... or, let's be honest, an AARP-friendly Kick-Ass. (Holy shit, there's Ernest Borgnine as a character called the Records Keeper!) It's messy, but hardly gory. Goofy? That's more like it.
Sat., Oct. 30, 6:45 p.m., 2010