MOVIE: Red (2010)

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is a retired CIA operative living a quiet, boring life in the suburbs.  The highlight of his month is when his pension check arrives in the mail — a pension check he promptly tears in half so he can call to report it missing.  On the other end of the phone is the same woman each time, a clerk named Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), and over the last year or so, she and Frank have talked dozens of times and begun to develop obvious crushes on each other.

Those crushes are why, when a team of black-ops assassins are sent to Frank’s house one night to kill him, he immediately heads to Kansas City to get Sarah, realizing he’s undoubtedly been under surveillance for weeks, making her a target too.

Though she’s initially a little freaked out (to say the least — Frank essentially has to kidnap her, though he quite politely, I thought, vacuums her apartment for her before they leave), her own mid-life crisis has left her yearning for adventure, and when she realizes Frank’s telling the truth about his past as a spy and the present prices on both their heads, it’s not long before she’s pretty much game for anything.

They begin by looking into the recent, seemingly connected murder of a New York Times reporter, quickly discovering she was in possession of a mysterious list of names that included Frank’s as well as a dozen others, most of whom are now dead.

And that’s when Frank decides they’re gonna need some help; it’s time to “get the band back together” and enlist the assistance of his old colleagues — the savvy Joe (Morgan Freeman), the paranoid-delusional Marvin (John Malkovich, who should only ever play comically crazy action heroes from now on, if you ask me, because he’s so delightfully good at it), the classy Victoria (Helen Mirren), and her old beau Ivan the Russian (Brian Cox).

Together, they trace the hit list back to an incident in South America in the 1980s, a mass murder of civilians covered up by the son of an American senator who now wants to erase all traces of his crime.  Dodging a determined CIA agent (the dashing Karl Urban), the team puts together a complicated scheme to enact payback, stop the villain, and, you know, have a little good old-fashioned spy-game fun.

This is a totally nutty flick, based on a graphic novel and featuring loads of goofy comic book-style special effects, as well as a marvelous cast and a frequently hilarious script (I loved the post card theme as well — cute).  It’s not perfect, but it’s good-natured and extremely fun, and one I’ll definitely be pulling out the next time I’m in need of a hearty laugh.

You know, like tomorrow.  For example.  My copy is en route from Amazon as we speak.

Highly recommended!

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Action, Comedy
Cast:  Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Julian McMahon, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, Karl Urban

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6 Responses to “MOVIE: Red (2010)”

  1. Trip Says:

    It was cool to see Ernest Borgnine in this – a likeable and classy cameo. Where The Losers was a variant on The A-Team, this one tacked closer to Mission: Impossible. How can you go wrong with Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman backing you up?

    I agree – it wasn’t perfect and the end was kind of a mess in the screenplay & dialogue department, but it was fun hanging with these guys for a while. And yes, there’s an entire movie and a sequel that could be written around Malkovich’s kooky paranoid dude alone…

  2. Kelly Says:

    Loved the movie. LOVED LOVED LOVED the movie. Saw it in the theater on opening day, and used a Best Buy gift card to buy it on DVD a few weeks ago. And for the benefit of K, the one who made me go on opening day to see her BF, please please please make Karl Urban a BOTW!!!!

  3. Scully Says:

    I think my favorite aspect of this movie is how Karl Urban added a layer to his performance by making his CIA character do a Brad Pitt impersonation whenever he was operating in an official capacity. As if maybe his character had decided to do a Brad Pitt impersonation any time he was in the office.

  4. Wendy Says:

    This could just be the pinot grigio talking, but I was so utterly charmed by Bruce Willis that I’m all giggly now. Yeah, on second thought it probably was the pinot grigio. Cracking good time, that movie. Thanks for suggesting we give it a try.

  5. megwood Says:

    I’m so glad you liked it! And that you’re drunk-commenting!

  6. Melinda Says:

    I went and saw it with my family and we all LOVED it! All of the characters just really seemed to click for me, and I’ve had a crush on Karl Urban since Two Towers, soooooo yeah. Must buy!

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