RED, as in "Retired-Extremely Dangerous," is a graphic novel by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Cully Hamner was released by Windstorm in 2009. It's a story about Paul Moses, a retired CIA assassin, reactivated when the new Director decides to terminate Moses because he knows too much. Moses seeks revenge, mayhem ensues and the bodies pile up as he makes his way to CIA Headquarters for a showdown.
In other words, RED puts the "graphic" in graphic novels.
There are eleven reviews of RED on Amazon.com. Only two reviewers consider this a 5-star story, while four reviewers give the book a 4-star rating. Of the remaining five reviews, RED garners two 3-star ratings but is hit with three 1-star ratings. Overall, RED averages 3-stars. Which is about where I rate this stark tale.
I noticed the 1-star reviewers saw the movie first and then read the graphic novel, thinking the book would have a similar tone. If it weren't for the title and the lead character, they'd almost be two different stories.
Last year, Summit Entertainment released RED, the movie, starring Bruce Willis. A coworker of mine called the movie 'charming,' which isn't a term I usually apply to action-adventure movies. However, after watching it, I have to agree with her. The premise of the movie is similar to the graphic novel: A hit squad tries to kill retired CIA assassin Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis, along with anyone he knows, or even has contact with. So Moses re-unites his team in an effort to determine who wants them dead and why. However, while the plot line is similar the tone of the movie is completely different. The folks at Summit put a different spin on the story, turning it into an engaging action-comedy, with a splash of romance.
These lethal characters move with the wit and grace of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on the dance floor. It is also an endearing story of how people considered 'past their prime,' in this youth-obsessed culture, still have what it takes to get the job done and can show the youngsters a thing or two.
As far as the comedy portion goes, I didn't ROTFLMAO, or even LOL, but I found myself smiling throughout the movie.
A lot more people have seen the movie, than read the graphic novel. The reviews on Amazon.com are all over the map, but are generally favorable: 157x5-star ratings, 63x4-star ratings, 18x3 & 2-star ratings and 28x1-star ratings. The primary complaint the 1-star raters have, is with the audio quality of the Blu-Ray edition. Overall, the movie averages a 4-star rating, which is where I rate this entertaining popcorn flick.
Interned Movie Database (IMDb) ratings:
The coworker who lent me his copies of the movie and the graphic novel, he urged me to read the novel before watching the movie. I'm glad I followed his advice. This is the first time I've enjoyed a movie more than a book.