Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
This would have been a hell of a cast when we were all younger. “RED” plays like a movie made for my Aunt Mary, who was always complaining, “Honey, I don't like the pictures anymore because I don't know who any of the actors are.” If the name Ernest Borgnine sounds familiar, here's the movie for you.
Borgnine at 93 is still active and has a project “in development,” I learn from IMDb, even if it's ominously titled “Death Keeps Coming.” Says here it's a supernatural Western being produced by Tarantino. Borgnine himself is a heck of a guy. I flew out of Cartagena with him one morning with a terrible hangover, and we got stranded in some forgotten Colombian airport where he fed me aspirin crushed in milk. An actor like that is a role model.
Bruce Willis stars in “RED,” which refers to his alert level (“retired: extremely dangerous”) and not his hair. He's a former CIA agent, a black operative, who discovers bad guys want to kill him. So he summons the members of his old killing squad, and they prepare a defense. The team includes Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox).
Some notes: Victoria requires no second name because she is a woman in a thriller; Ivan is a Russian, because the Russian in every thriller is named Ivan; Malkovich may have taken the role because he is never considered for characters named Boggs, and Freeman reveals early that he is dying of liver cancer. We know that as the black member of the team he must die first, “because that's how he would have wanted it.”