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May 5, 2011
RED Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/5/201030/3/2011Icon FilmsRobert Schwentke
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MBruce Willis

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Malkovich, Freeman and Willis in RED.

Quite some time ago, in June 2010 to be precise, a trailer came out for RED. With the knowledge that Bruce Willis was starring in the movie, but little else, I checked out the trailer and was instantly hooked. With an all-star cast, interesting plotline and what appeared to be plenty of action. Indeed the $US58 million film returned a very impressive $186 million worldwide, and is likely to do very well on DVD/Blu-Ray as well.

When his peaceful life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, former black-ops agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team - all marked RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) - in a last ditch effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

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Have you ever seen a cooler image?
First thing that anyone should notice about this release is the fantastic list of actors involved. Indeed here's the list: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Julian McMahon, Brian Cox, James Remar, and finally the legendary Ernest Borgnine. Now that's an impressive cast indeed and be it the crazy antics of John Malkovich, seeing Helen Mirren running around with any number of weapons, Brian Cox's as a Russian, or Morgan Freeman as someone well past his prime everything just clicks here and you can't really think of a better cast, or a cast that seems to be having more fun.

One issue I had with the film is the fight between Bruce Willis and Karl Urban in the CIA office. While it ramps up the action, and the angst between the two characters, there was no real purpose for Frank Moses to take the risk for no benefit - or at least it isn't explained very well in the film. I guess it could have been to cover up seeing the records keeper (brilliantly played by the legendary Ernest Borgnine).

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Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker in RED.
I'm not going to proclaim RED as being the best action movie ever, nor the best comic book based movie ever either, but it's a movie which people of all ages (well probably teenagers and up) will likely enjoy with stars across all eras making an appearance. It's a fun movie, and we recommend you check this out.

With a bitrate that often hovers near, and occasional above, 30Mbps according to our PS3 this AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is given plenty of room to breathe and indeed the transfer offers plenty of fine detail, great colour reproduction and a crystal clear image. Being such a recent release the transfer is free of any video or film artifacts or dirt. Would I call it reference quality, well possibly not quite as it doesn't quite have the 'pop' that makes your jaw drop, but technically this transfer remains very impressive indeed.

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Hell yes, Helen Mirren with a gun!
Not to be outdone the audio on this Blu-Ray release of RED is quite spectacular. With a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (24-bit/48Khz) this is a crystal clear audio track which is as close to reference quality as one would expect from the lossless format. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand while effects from the numerous action sequences really stand out - from the gunshots to the explosions, your room will be constantly rocking. Surround sound channels are used frequently to great effect as well to create a more engaging experience while the music from composer Christophe Beck, while not the most memorable, kicks in nicely when required.

There are no other audio tracks on this release, and only a single English SDH subtitle track. We sampled this subtitle track in several locations throughout the film and its was always accurate to the on-screen dialogue.

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The legendary Ernest Borgnine.
If there is one slight disappointment with this release it's the lack of extras, however what is here is pretty interesting.

Audio Commentary with Retired CIA Field Officer Robert Baer: This is quite a fascinating audio track as ex-CIA agent Robert Baer, who acted as a consultant on the movie, in which he details how real agents operate.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (8:40/HD): Here we have a series of deleted and extended scenes from the film. There are some decent moments in these ten clips, in particular the extended closing scene, although it's clear why many of them were cut from the final film.

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Karl Urban - from Star Trek to RED.
Code: RED (HD): Here we have two PIP (Picture-In-Picture) tracks the first includes interviews with the cast and CIA Operative, the latter of which offers some interesting insights into being a real CIA agent (although contains content from the main commentary) while the second track is a Trivia Track providing details about real laws and punsishments in relation to events on-screen, and other tidbits of information. You can play both simultaneously with my only issue being the small Trivia Track text size - you better have a big TV!

It must be said that RED was one of the surprise films of 2010. It certainly exceeded expectations for the studio in terms of box office dollars, but for the home viewer it was an entertaining release with a brilliant cast. The transfer is also quite impressive which makes this a disc well worth checking out, of not adding to your collection.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.