The three-issue miniseries written by Ellis and drawn by Cully Hamner was a lean, mean, assassin-on-the-warpath thriller, about one old man proving that some things are best left alone. But the movie version looks like a frothy romp. Um, okay.
At first blush, the only response I've got is, that doesn't look like the comic book that I remember. As I recall it, Red followed Paul Moses, a retired CIA killing machine who kicks back up to speed when the same bureaucracy that employed him decides he's too dangerous to be left alive. And then he kills the shit out of lots of people in grisly and interesting ways.
Of course, some things needed to be changed on the path from the page to the screen — Red wasn't a long comic, and Ellis himself will admit that a certain amount of embroidery needed to be done to the source material to, at the very least, get it up to a feature-film running time. And the addition of the supporting characters played by Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovich is, on the surface, a fine choice: Surround Bruce Willis with that rich a cast can only yield dividends.
So the fact that Red seems to have become a sort of Grumpy Old Assassins doesn't inspire confidence. It could be fun, sure — and I hope it is — but not only does this not look like the book I remember, it doesn't seem to retain the spirit of the book I remember. Things change when they're adapted — they have to, it's right there in the definition of the word adapt — but the feel, the vibe, the spirit ought to remain intact.
Or it's entirely possible that the flick does carry the same charge as the comic, but Summit doesn't know how to market a film that doesn't include the sparkly undead.