Superannuated ex-CIA chums provide some explosive senior moments on Blu-ray

RED stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich as a quartet of retired CIA agents who are forced to go on the run and fight for their lives when they’re targeted for termination by the organisation they used to work for. Based on a little-known comic book miniseries, this light-hearted action comedy coasts by on the chummy chemistry of its aging stars and the sheer pleasure you’ll find in watching a ‘classic’ actress like Helen Mirren whip out a machine gun and start blasting away at the baddies. So, while it’s far from perfect, RED knows exactly what it’s doing and in its curious, ambling way, delivers plenty of chuckles and some cracking action along the way.

Picture: There’s very little wrong with Entertainment One’s treatment of RED on Blu-ray. With its cast of notable Hollywood ‘wrinklies’, the film is never short of craggy facial close-ups with which to judge the AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode, and in this regard it always takes top honours. True, colours – particularly fleshtones - can sometimes seem a little hot, but this is more likely a result of post-production colour timing than anything to do with the encode itself, and black levels are consistently impressive throughout. Add to that a pleasingly fine layer of film grain present throughout and you can understand why the picture quality gets the ‘HCC Seal of Approval’.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: As good as RED looks on Blu-ray, it sounds even better. The disc’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is reference quality stuff from start to finish, from the tight LFE to the aggressive use of the surrounds during shootouts. The opening scene sets the tone perfectly, with bullets ripping through the soundstage all around you as the assassins start their home invasion. And it’s not just the steering that impresses, but also the control and power inherent in each gunshot in the mix. It leaves you gagging for more, which is exactly what the film delivers over its 11min running time.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: When it comes to bonus features, this Blu-ray edition of RED makes up in quality, what it lacks in quantity. Instead of grabbing the cast and crew for the audio commentary, RED drafts in retired CIA Field Officer Robert Baer to discuss the realities of leaving an organisation like the CIA as well as the how the film measures up to real world experiences. The cast and crew do show up for the picture-in-picture track, which offers much more in the way of detail about the making of the film, and once again Baer is on hand (or at least, his voice is, accompanied by a mysterious silhouette) to dispense more snippets about real-life CIA procedure. Also on offer is a trivia track and a collection of 10 deleted/extended scenes presented in 1080p.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: An unpretentious and fun action flick that’ll blow you away with its hi-def AV credentials.

Entertainment One, Region B BD, £25 approx, On sale now