“Red”, a movie starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, and Karl Urban, among others, is not a great movie. But for what it attempts to be, it is a fun movie.
Some spoilers may follow.
The plot, such as it is, concerns a plot by a faction within the CIA to terminate with extreme prejudice a group of CIA black ops specialists who are classified as RED (i.e. Retired Extremely Dangerous.) Unfortunately one of the first people the assassins try to take out is Bruce Willis’ character and, as we all know, Bruce Willis is very hard to kill indeed.
There follows a series of set piece action sequences that consists of some car chases, gun fights, and explosions. Along the way Bruce picks up Mary-Louise Parker, with whom he has been having a long distance relationship, Morgan Freedman, an eighty year old ex-spy living out his last days in a retirement home with liver cancer, and John Malkovich who had been driven insane by CIA LSD mind control experiments.
Along the way, they pick up Helen Mirren, an ex MI16 agent who is as elegant as she is skilled with heavy weaponry. Brian Cox also shows up as a Cold War era enemy Russian turned friend.
Hot on the trail is Karl Urban, a kind of younger version of Bruce Willis, who has not been told everything about why this group of people has to die.
The group soon discovers that they are being hunted because they know too much about a messy thing that went down in Guatemala in the early 1980s that involves a prominent politician who now is ambitious to be the most prominent politician of all. An evil defense contractor is also involved, of course.
Why the group get themselves out of the fix they are in is very often over the top, part caper story, part 1980s style action film. Helen Mirren, at one point, handles a fifty caliber machine gun. John Malkovich takes out a rocket (and the person who fired it) with a bullet. Malkovich;s character turns out to be an example of how one is not completely paranoid if they are really out to get you.
Ernest Borgnine, looking very good for a man in his nineties, makes an appearance as the keeper of records for the CIA
Indeed, the whole story of “Red” is a retelling of the maxim that age and treachery always beats out youth and superior fire power (or to that effect.) A little more development and thinking through might have made “Red” a find caper move on the level of “Oceans 11”, but with exploding ordinance thrown in. But even half baked, “Red” is a tasty morsel of a movie, perhaps best suited for matinee prices rather than full evening fare.
Source: Red, IMDB