Bruce Willis’s latest action movie, RED, is sure to be a hit at the box office this season. In fact, it may be the perfect film for the aging baby-boomers who can readily identify with the slightly older cast who play retired CIA agents who are still skilled assassins, as in the name “RED” which stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous.
In addition to Willis, the cast includes Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox who all play former agents who team up again for old time’s sake and their very survival. Someone is out to eliminate them in a cover-up plot involving the Vice President and corporate bad guy Alexander Dunning played by Richard Dreyfus who is also proudly showing his age in RED.
RED is an enjoyable movie with a fairly forgettable plot overshadowed by very memorable characters. John Malkovich is perfect in the part of Marvin Boggs, a former CIA operative who had once been given an experimental daily dose of LSD for 11 years. Helen Mirren is amazing as Victoria, who manages to not only seem believable as a retired machine gun assassin, but also looks fabulous in an evening gown despite her age.
Meanwhile, the movie has two separate love stories developing. Bruce Willis’s character Frank Moses has kidnapped Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) on their first date. Sarah, who previously only found excitement through romance novels, is glad to join Frank’s band of former CIA bad-asses who are aged like fine wine and have only gotten better with time.
Meanwhile, Victoria (Helen Mirren) rekindles a romance from years past with Ivan (Brian Cox) who convincingly plays a former Russian operative who complains to Frank that he too, is bored with retirement, and “hasn’t keeled anyone in years” to which Frank comically replies “that’s a shame.” There is an unexpected chemistry between this cast which also includes several appearances by Ernest Borgnine who is the lonely CIA records keeper Henry.
It is doubtful that RED will have much appeal for younger audiences, despite the appearance of Karl Urban, who had starring roles in Lord of the Rings and Bourne Supremacy. In RED, Urban plays agent William Cooper, who is the CIA agent in charge of carrying out the plot to kill Frank and his team. Urban gives a solid performance in RED, who is memorable for not only calling Bruce Willis “Grandpa” but does a fair job of portraying what Frank (Willis) was like in his younger days as a bond develops between the two characters. Frank identifies with agent Cooper seeing much of his younger self in this character, while Cooper gains respect for the skill of the aging agent Frank Moses, as each realize they are basically cut from the same mold by the end of the film.
RED is an action film with plenty of gun battles, chase scenes and excitement but without all the blood and guts that make you cringe like in so many other action films. The PG-13 rating is refreshing, and the light-hearted action in RED makes it a movie you don’t have to think too much about but simply enjoy it for what it is. My overall score for RED is a solid A-. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.
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