Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Although there's no dearth of spectacular gunplay and fisticuffs in Robert Schwentke's light-hearted actioner, what makes RED really rock is old-fashioned movie-star style.
New York Times:
It is possible to have a good time at RED, but it is not a very good movie. It doesn't really try to be, and given the present state of the Hollywood economy, this may be a wise choice.
There's fun to be had watching Willis and Parker banter, and listening to Malkovich toss off arrhythmically timed one-liners.
Wall Street Journal:
Only in Hollywood is someone seriously old at 55, but this is the underlying thesis of Red, and it works like a well-worn charm.
This is a capable, experienced cast with extensive acting chops, and it's trashy fun watching them descend to the level of the material, which has Mirren in a sleek ball gown, capably letting rip with a 50-caliber machine gun...
Red isn't a great movie, but it's great fun, and if that sounds like damning with faint praise, you take things too seriously.
What might have been a guilty-pleasure romp is hobbled by poor direction, sloppy pacing, and a story line that can't decide whether it's farce or a retread.
Much of the enjoyment comes from seeing these respected thespians so thoroughly embody cartoon characters; it's like Sidney Lumet directing Space Jam.
RED stands for "Retired, Extremely Dangerous," though "Reasonably Entertaining Diversion" works too.
Old people who kill people are so much cuter than young people who kill people, right? In a movie like RED, that's all we need to know.
Christian Science Monitor:
Red is a goofball lament. It's saying that in the good old days, or at least in the good old movie days, our killers were good-time guys.
Dallas Morning News:
[Strikes] a careful balance between quasi-cartoonish shoot-outs and oddball humor, which ranges from droll to silly without ever going too far over the top.
Red has ka-booms, rat-a-tat-tats and a wildly extended first date. It's edgy and fantastically gooey -- and flaunts it.
What really works for Red is our shared history with the actors involved.
This latest adaptation of a hip graphic novel fails to fill in the spaces between the action with anything terribly interesting.
Although tailor-made for genre fans, it benefits from flavors of humor and romance that keep its appeal from being fanboy-only.
Los Angeles Times:
It's not that it doesn't have effective moments, it's that it doesn't have as many as it thinks it does. The film's inescapable air of glib self-satisfaction is not only largely unearned, it's downright irritating.
Compared to such generic, flashy duds as Knight and Day or The Expendables, Red goes down like a flute of fine champagne. Here's how it's done, youngsters.
It's as if the studio simply assembled a huge pile of money in the middle of the back lot, set it ablaze and started filming. And I wish they had, because it would have been more interesting to watch than this.
New York Post:
Red, perhaps the first CIA-AARP flick, fits seniors with grenade launchers instead of slippers. I say it's about time.
Too long, too busy, too loud, and too reliant on slam-bang stunt work, Red's glib dialogue and sinister government scenarios begin to wear.
Not to be confused with the early-'90s Kieslowski film of the same name. Definitely not.
RED is neither a good movie nor a bad one. It features actors we like doing things we wish were more interesting.
Though the actors are all, in theory, welcome company, this ensemble never really gels.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Red is an insult to our memories and to our intelligence, an unfunny farce whose veteran cast is cashing a retirement check.
A lengthy procession of geriatric-assassin jokes [that] offers a chilling portent of what lies in store should soon-to-be-ex-Governor Schwarzenegger ever return to the big screen.
Globe and Mail:
The star turns are Red's raison d'etre, with the winking performances filling the place of any credible dramatic tension.
How it all ends up is significantly less interesting than how they get there. It's a hoot to watch the elegant Mirren shift from high heels to combat boots, as she gamely goes from arranging flowers to being locked and loaded.
Beneath its light exterior is not only a neat, if unsubtle, political undercurrent but a rebellious streak about how the allure of firing an RPG outweighs the prospect of retirement.
If the story made more sense and the humor were more abundant, this could have been a bona-fide winner. Instead it falls smack in the realm of forgettably mediocre.
An amusing, light-footed caper about a team of aging CIA veterans rudely forced out of retirement.
The one-liners zing right along with the bullets in a playful pas de deux of mayhem, misdirection and mordant humor.