RED is one of those movies where you aren’t really given a direct story line to follow up front. You sort of have to piece it together as you go along. And as the layers to the plot are discovered, you have a good laugh and lots of fun and surprises along the way.
Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, an ex CIA agent whose file has been stamped RED – Retired, Extremely Dangerous. He lives a quiet life on a quiet street, ripping up his pension check just so he can call in and speak to the lovely Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) at the Pension office. They talk about books and traveling, and then Frank’s house gets shot up by the bad FBI guys. Frank kicks butt and gets the heck out of there.
After picking up Sarah, who might find herself in trouble with the CIA just for talking to him, he sets out to find why he’s suddenly become a target. Along the way, he reconnects with some old, but deadly, colleagues played by Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren. Together, they find out the black-ops are out to kill a list of people who were present in Guatemala when the now Vice President committed war crimes. With his plan to run for President, he needs to get rid of some dirty laundry, and Frank’s name is on the laundry list.
John Malkovich is superb as a crazed gunman who fears everyone is out to get him – the government, the web, the satellites, the helicopters flying over. The government tests involving daily injections of LSD back in the day didn’t help much! The gun chases are over the top hilarious thanks to John, his big guns, and classic one liners!
Morgan Freeman is…well, Morgan Freeman who never disappoints. But Helen Mirren, a bread-and-breakfast flowering arranging, meal planning, elder is also a deadly assassin who loves to kill people. She’s also in love with their Russian adversary who has always wanted to kill a U.S. President, played by highly versatile Brian Cox.
This is a movie not intended to be taken too seriously. The big guns and big explosions often had me laughing out loud at times because the characters take the action very seriously, and you can’t help but laugh at the old Western-like face offs. See this movie for the unbelievable cast, and for its hilarity.
Bruce Willis followers won’t be disappointed, although Bruce’s character is a bit reserved this time. There’s not a lot of classic emotional connection in the storyline between you and the characters or with between the characters themselves, but that’s okay. You’ll still walk away like you’ve just had a great day at an amusement park.
I’d give it 4 stars for entertainment value, 4 stars for action, and 3 stars for writing and plot.