Sunday, 14 November 2010

Retired and Extremely Dangerous

Mixed reviews online - generally, I can see what they mean, and I guess if you review films for a living, you will have seen this plot line at least 50 times before. So I forgive the 2-star givers.

For me, however, I considered the film to be enjoyable and funny - yes, the fight scenes generally don't include a lot of danger (it's a 12A, get over it) and yes, the jokes are probably as old as its cast, and yeah, Morgan Freeman isn't exactly stretching himself into a new character. I still rather loved it though.

Not read the comic, so I won't be making comparisons.

The plot is pretty basic: Ageing Bruce Willis (he's so bald!) has fallen gently in love with the girl that answers the phone at the pensions office. He tells her he's coming to visit, but that night he's attacked by (very sloppy, I must say) unknown assailants who DEFINITELY wanted him dead. He realises that his phone's probably been tapped, and so goes to kidnap the girl of his dreams for her own safety.

He meets up with his old pals in the form of aged, ill but still active 88 year old Morgan Freeman, the absolutely insane paranoid John Malkovich, the mysterious but cuddly Brian Cox and the glamourously deadly Helen Mirren in order to infiltrate the FBI HQ, and to take down the person(s) behind the death orders.

The film has gags in it, and the cast is fantastic, but it's one of those films that could still be better. The writing was a bit predictable - there was the aforementioned lack of danger. Perhaps that's why it was a 12A film, or perhaps that is what they were aiming for. But the special FBI agent moves and the gun fights and the explosions were all too perfectly choreographed. That doesn't mean, of course, watching Helen Mirren handling an enormous machine gun whilst in a gala dinner dress wasn't entertaining.
Perhaps if the writers had followed the cast's lead, the film might have been better - the lines were delivered very well, but there wasn't always enough pace, or the action scenes were too formulaic. The end of the film was a bit too clich├ęd for words.

What I do know is that despite it being yet another Bruce Willis Proves He Still Has It at 50+ film, he is still endearing (and cool) and John Malkovich's performance was brilliant.
The sub-romance plot between Cox and Mirren was more enjoyable than the main romantic plot between Willis and Mary Louise-Parker, though.

I'd give the film 3.5 out of 5 - still enjoyable and fun to watch, but it wasn't quite brilliant.

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