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New ‘Red’ Teaser Trailer Plays Up the Humor Behind Action-Packed Retirement

Two years after the comic book mini-series was optioned to become a movie, fans can finally get a look at the official teaser trailer for Warren Ellis’ “Red.”

The original comic-book series is a fairly straightforward story about Frank Moses, a black ops assassin who for the CIA who retires and becomes a quiet recluse. Believing he’s too dangerous to be allowed interaction with the world at large, Frank takes joy in the simple interactions he has with his handler and his niece. But when the newly appointed CIA director learns of everything that Frank did for the U.S., he decides he can’t risk that the former assassin won’t talk or be discovered before he dies of natural causes. He orders a hit squad on Frank, who retaliates by going “red” and attacking the CIA head-on. It’s a brutal, violent story with some cynical humor and very overt criticism about a broken system and the way certain people in Washington are appointed or elected these days.Over the past couple of years, the movie assembled a cast of well-loved stars, including Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox and Bruce Willis (as Moses). The film is directed by Robert Schwentke, who also directed “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “White Out,” and is produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, who produced “Doom”, “Constantine”, “Stardust” and “G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” In an interview, Di Bonaventura explained that certain changes were made in order to expand the film to run a full two hours. One such change was that in the film Frank will not go to Washington D.C. immediately, but first seek out other retired assassins who, like him, are now being hunted down by the new director out of fear of the secrets they carried and what those secrets represented. Another change is that the violence has been toned down a bit in order for the film to have a PG-13 rating rather than an R, though Di Bonaventura has defended this by saying that the film is a “hard PG-13″ and pointed out, “in our crazy rating system, as long as we don’t say the word f*ck more than once, you can pretty much do almost anything you want.”

Though it’ll tick off many, I personally think the point about a hard PG-13 film is a good one. The fact is, you can do a lot with implied violence or with showing violence but not going overboard with actual bloodshed. The TV series “Doctor Who” has a body count every episode but it’s still considered a kid’s/family program because you almost never see a drop of blood.

So with all this in mind, here’s the trailer …

… Hmmm. Interesting. As we’ve been warned, there are some clear changes. Moses seems less comfortable being a recluse from what we see here and from the looks of it (and this has been confirmed by the director and producers), there’s a lot more humor in this adaptation. Will that humor override the film’s message and the darker themes? Kind of hard to say at this point. But even if this film is markedly different from the original source material, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be fun to watch. Tim Burton’s Batman was very different from the comic book (at the time) and that’s still a fun flick to watch on its own terms.

And not only that, but it’s been said that “Red” comic creator/writer Warren Ellis saw a cut of the film and enjoyed it. So if he’s not pulling his hair and ticked off about this, I’m going to give these guys the benefit of a doubt and believe that the film will balance out its humor with great violence and cynical messages.

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