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FAQ for
RED (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for RED can be found here.

Two aging black ops CIA agents Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) discover that their names are on a RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) hit list because of a secret operation pulled years ago in the Central American country of Guatemala. Enlisting the help of former CIA operative Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), ex-KGB agent Ivan Simonov (Brian Cox), and retired MI6 sharpshooter Victoria (Helen Mirren), they try to uncover their assailants and their reason for wanting to kill them with federal pension worker Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) reluctantly tagging along.

RED is based on a comic book written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Cully Hamner. It was originally published by Homage Comics (an imprint of DC Comics) as a three-issues series from 2003 to '04. It was later collected into a single trade paperback that includes both "RED" and "Tokyo Storm Warning", another comic penned by Ellis. The comic was adapted for the movie by screenwriting brothe1rs Jon and Erich Hoeber. It was followed by a sequel, RED 2 (2013).

He knew that Library of Congress numbers start with letters, whereas many municipal libraries use the Dewey system, which is generally a decimal number followed by the Cutter number, which generally starts with the first letter of the author's name. Frank recognizes the number on the postcard as being in the Harvard-Yenching cataloging system used for cataloging Asian books. Stuck in the book with that call number is the list of people who were on the Guatemala mission, most of whom are now dead.

The term "wet" comes from the Russian expression mokroye delo, meaning "wet job". It is a spy slang euphemism for murder or assassination and refers to the spilling of blood. KGB and CIA agents who function as assassins may be referred to as "wet boys" performing "wet work" as opposed to "dry work" like intelligence gathering. Why Marvin added "like peaches" to the term is most likely an allusion to the fact that it is difficult to eat a ripe peach without getting yourself all wet. What he was definitely alluding to is his contention that the helicopter circling over his house held assassins who were looking to kill him.

Their own ex-employers, the CIA. From agent Gabriel Singer (James Remar), they learn that the Guatemalan mission involved extracting a person from a village and that everybody on the hit list has been killed to silence them. From shady arms merchandizer Alexander Dunning (Richard Dreyfuss), they further learn that the mission was to extract the now-Vice President Robert Stanton (Julian McMahon) who, at the time, was a young lieutenant who wigged out and massacred the villagers. Dunning also attests that Stanton is the one trying to erase all the loose ends.

Frank calls CIA agent William Cooper (Karl Urban) and tells him to bring Sarah to him at the Evanston Power Plant in 15 minutes or will kill the Vice President. Cooper arrives alone, but a limo drives up a few minutes later carrying Sarah, Cooper's superior Cynthia Wilkes (Rebecca Pidgeon), Alexander Dunning (Richard Dreyfuss), and several thugs. While Cynthia holds Sarah at gunpoint, Dunning shoots the Vice President, then orders Cooper to cuff Frank and kill both him and Sarah. The plan is to say that Frank shot Stanton, then Cooper shot Frank and Sarah. In return, Cooper will be made head of the CIA. Dunning explains that he is really the mastermind of the assassinations and that he's just using the CIA to carry out the work. Cooper cuffs Frank as ordered but stuffs the key in his hand. When Frank starts walking toward Sarah, Cynthia points her gun at him, but Cooper shoots Cynthia. Frank applies a crushing blow to Dunning's larynx, after which he hugs Sarah as Victoria, Marvin, and Ivan arrive, taking out Dunning's thugs. The five of them depart together, leaving Cooper to handle the Vice President (who is still alive). Later, in the car, Marvin says he has a feeling that something terrible is going to happen, but Frank says that it can't be that bad because, for the first time, no one is following and trying to kill them. Ivan then reminds Frank of a favor he is owed and asks for his help with "a small nuclear problem" in Moldova. In the final scene, Marvin and Frank are racing through a Moldovan field, Frank pushing a wheelbarrow containing a nuclear warhead and Marvin wearing a dress, both being shot at by the Moldovan army. "Next time," Marvin yells, "your girlfriend can wear the dress!"


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