Mr. Church reunites the Expendables for what should be an easy paycheck, but when one of their men is murdered on the job, their quest for revenge puts them deep in enemy territory and up against an unexpected threat.
Disgraced Secret Service agent (and former presidential guard) Mike Banning finds himself trapped inside the White House in the wake of a terrorist attack; using his inside knowledge, Banning works with national security to rescue the President from his kidnappers.
John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working undercover, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
Frank (Bruce Willis) is retired, bored, and lonely living off his government pension in a nondescript suburb in an equally nondescript house. The only joy in Frank's life is his calls to the government pension processing center when he gets to talk to his case worker, Sarah (Mary-Louis Parker). Sarah is as bored and lonely as Frank and marks her conversations with the unknown Frank and her spy novels as the only things fun in her life. When something in Frank's past forces Frank back into his old line of work and puts an unwitting Sarah in the middle of the intrigue, Frank and Sarah begin a journey into Frank's past and the people he used to work with. Like Frank they are all RED ... Retired Extremely Dangerous. Written by
Malcolm is Crazy
You're wrinkly, have health issues and your age is higher than the calibre of your gun. So what's a senior to do? Why get a bigger gun of course. That is certainly one of many philosophies in the action comedy RED (That would be Retired Extremely Dangerous for those still living in fear of Communism. Hey, it is the right age bracket) which collects a who's who of Oscar-grade talent and has them blow stuff up real good. This is but the fourth men-on-a-mission film so far this year after The Expendables, The A-Team and The Losers, heck even Inception could fall into that group. The good news is with the exception of the latter it is the best of the bunch and by far the most fun you're bound to have this fall season.
Now onto the CIA. I don't know what they're dipping their dirty little fingers into Stateside but in addition to being at the center of some ticked off senior's attention in RED, they have been the villains in aforementioned The Losers and The A-Team as well as Salt and Knight & Day. Talk about your need for homeland security, they had better keep one of those high-tech satellites over Hollywood. At the receiving end of the Central Intelligence Agency's scope are a band of former operatives including the "kid" of the group, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), the ailing Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), the brain-fried eccentric, Marvin Boggs (John Malcovich) and the sultry heartbreaker, Victoria (Helen Mirren). Brian Cox also shows up as a Ruskie who may or may not have been previously shot by one of the former. Though not having seen action in a good decade, they have been deemed "RED" by an unknown force, which means curtains for this rag-tag bunch of geriatrics.
The cast truly is great in RED, and I don't simply mean the actors in general; they simply all give full-on great, funny performances. The subtle (but hilarious) underlying lament of these characters is they all reminisce over their past lives as hardened assassins and pine just to kill one more little ol' person. More at the forefront of course is the bang-on wry humour and delicious action sequences. This is old fashion stunt work at play here (fittingly perhaps) and I'll take it over a green screen any day. These bursts of adrenaline are dumb to be sure, but not totally ludicrous; think of a cross between Die Hard and Enemy of the State. What they are not is anything short of exciting and kinetic, and are interspersed with laughs in such a way as to not drift to one focus too long. RED also gleefully embraces its comic book origins, using playful transitions as the globe-trotting commences. Yet again, director Robert Schwentke never revels in one gimmick for too long and the film goes down smooth and easy as a result.
The younger cast is more than worth mentioning as well, with the highest accolades going to Mary-Louis Parker from TV's Weeds. There is a joke in RED which I am not sure was intentioned, when after being injected with a knockout-drug, Parker's Sarah exclaims "I'm so high". She steals most scenes when given the chance but her character (a love interest of Frank who unintentionally gets caught up in the fracas) is utilized far more towards the beginning of the film. Karl Urban is also solid as a CIA operative tasked in finding the RED's but becomes suspicious at his orders which grow increasingly corrupt. I always wonder in the movie world how they would explain attack helicopters shredding an airport to the general public. The government must have some amazing PR agents on staff. Richard Dreyfus (in his second cameo of the year after Piranha) is also well used as an oily arms dealer who comes across the team's path.
Summit Entertainment is pulling out all the marketing stops for this film, and I am happy to report the results seem to be worth the glamour. While venturing through my theatres ticket checkpoint they stamped my stub "confidential" instead of ripping it, and a squad of agents clad in sunglasses and suits patrolled the lobby. The showing seemed to be a generous mix of old and new patrons and that really comes as no surprise. Even though the majority of the cast has long breached 60, these are actors generations of all ages still admire. Even if they are not the draws they once were (some of them never were) this is a great example of people showing up to see actors, performers, and not special effects. RED may be imperfect, it may not even be particularly fresh, but it exudes something movies lack far too often: fun.
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