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A 2010 film adaptation of the comic book of the same name.

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When Mirren grabs that Browning or an MP5, you better be scared.

  • Oct 16, 2010
2010 has been quite a year for odd action movies. We had The Expendables about a super group of action movie stars who save the world and later Machete where grizzled Danny Trejo kicks butt just North of the border with camp and panache. Red comes in following the destruction left in those movie's wake and if it had been released at the same time, it easily would have been lost in the shuffle.

Red in the title means Retired, Extremely Dangerous and that sums up Frank Moses a man living a quiet life in Ohio having retired from the CIA after many years. Blending into his surroundings nicely, Frank only has one person for company and that is a Call Center employee named Sarah who handles Franks pension checks and the two have a polite relationship. One day masked bad guys come and obliterate Frank's house, but not before Frank kills them with ease and Frank is off to Kansas to find Sarah and get her out of potential harms way so that Frank can find his old acquaintances in Joe, a smooth cat with a pimp slap, tectched Marvin who's conspiracy theories belly his lethal abilities and survival instinct and last but not least, Victoria a former British Secret Service agent played by Helen Mirren who makes older women with machine guns and sniper rifles sexy. She found a way.

The plot comes together around a conspiracy of the CIA being used as killers to cover up anyone who was involved with a 30 year old mission and once in place, Willis and the gang suit up for a plot to stop the bad guys.

Unlike the above mention movies from this Summer, Red and it's cast of elder statesman of killers aren't doing anything too flashy or too outrageous. For the most part this isn't a total slam bang movie and it's action comes steady and smooth so you don't tune out. It's plagued by any other action movie by strange moves like having men with automatic rifles not hit targets 8 yards away or even a scene where Bruce Willis discards part of a costume to make a getaway not 3 feet from a group of people who would see him. My favorite is one you've all seen in commercials where Malkovich shoots dead center an RPG fired at him with a Smith And Wesson 500 SW handgun (this is a gun you could hunt dinosaurs with, not precision marksmanship) but since it looks cool we don't care, much.

All of the cast members are great. John Malkovich steals almost every scene he's in with a snide look or whatever mumbo jumbo he's talking or prop he's sporting and that includes a cute in-joke remark he makes about secret serviceman and how they used to be tough. Mary Louise Parker, looking good and having a quip handy, easily starts to take in stride the dead bodies and assassination attempts around her. Morgan Freeman makes the most of his screen time the best way he can and Karl Urban, doing his best to hide his Dr. McCoy impression gives us a character that we see move from villain and into a simple antagonist and it's a nice transition.

Red doesn't rush and it doesn't take itself too seriously with it's geezers with guns motif. You got a nice caliber of actors here doing something that Willis aside never made career's out of. Red is a great film to watch and sure it looks tame compared to what came before it, but keep in mind that this movie has a much better story, but Red is trying to fit into the boots of the bigger and wilder movies and coming up short in the action and meyhem dept. Of course if it came down between this and bingo night, I know how I'd spend my time.
When Mirren grabs that Browning or an MP5, you better be scared.

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October 20, 2010
Great review, John. I agree with you that the "new guard of actors in action roles like Nicholas Cafe and Matt Damon" aren't that mind-blowing. It's nice to see an old-schooler like Bruce Willis catching the limelight. I really enjoy the action films he stars in. I'll be sure to check this one out in the near future. :)
October 21, 2010
I was really pulling for the Rock. He would have been the best replacement.
October 21, 2010
Yeah, that would have been nice. I've liked a lot of the films he's been in.
October 17, 2010
I only skimmed at your review since I will be seeing this tomorrow (down with a bad cold today)--nice to know that it is pretty good. I'll be back to comment further once I've seen it.
October 17, 2010
Right on. Hope you feel better.
October 16, 2010
Glad to hear that this one was good, love every one in this.
October 16, 2010
It's not bad. I didn't see it and love all of it like The Expendables and Matchete but it's still worth seeing.
More RED reviews
review by . October 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ Stars:
Let’s cut to the chase; Hollywood has been milking the comic book genre for everything it’s worth with adaptations with more misses than actual hits nowadays. So it is no surprise that a movie adaptation of Warren Ellis’ and Cully Hamner’s 3-issue limited series would be adapted for the big screen. Director Robert Schwentke‘s “RED” is based on the comic mini-series by Homage publications (a division of DC-Vertigo) and takes a different tone than the mini-series. …
review by . January 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
It started off "cowboy" style and hilarious to a certain degree. It's not what my idea of Bruce Willis is. It's kinda fun watching this movie, from the beginning to the end. From Kansas City to New Orleans to Alabama, he took his "gal" gagged around different cities. Isn't that something?         Then there is Morgan Freeman, well, this movie is certainly packed with heavyweights! John Malkovich joins in the fun and off they go trying …
review by . March 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****     "Red" is best known as "The Expendables", but with old people, as well as being a whole lot more entertaining and closer to being worth watching. Alas, I will not say that "Red" is a "good" film, but it is by no means a bad one. It is a fun film, as long as you can get past the crappy advertising (which makes the film out to be a sort of consistent shoot-'em-up action film, which it isn't) and the action movie clichés that come with it. "Red" is overall …
review by . January 04, 2011
You know how I said in my Psycho review that making horror films is a lost art? Well, I say the same thing about action films. I think a definite thing that has to do with the downfall of action is the fact that Schwartzenegger and Stallone have gotten old. A great action film has to have great action, but a good story and acting as well. True Lies for example: it still has great action and Arnold kicking ass, but it has a story and okay acting to go with it. But Red is different than most action …
review by . March 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Quite refreshing for us older folks
   I can't speak for anyone else but I'm getting pretty damned tired of seeing 20 somethings on tv and in movies who are supposed to be doctors, lawyers, etc. They aren't even old enough to be done with college!      That, I'll admit, was one of the main things I liked about the movie "RED". Everyone in it was over 40, and looked like they actually had the mileage to have been a covert operative. HOW REFRESHING!      The …
review by . November 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
On paper RED seems too good to be true. The idea of classic actors of comedy, drama, and action like Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman teaming up for a film is like a movie version of an eclipse. The film follows Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a retired CIA agent that lives a pretty boring life. In the first 10 minutes of the film we get to see the biggest extent of his “exciting life”, the highest point of his day being a toss up between putting a single snowman decoration in his yard for …
review by . October 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It’s hard to make a good action film. It’s even harder to make a good comedy. And it’s harder still to tell a story that will not only entertain audiences, but also keep them intrigued. Not only does “Red” successfully achieve all three, it also manages to house it within the context of a graphic novel, a notoriously fanboy-exclusive genre. Fanboys will certainly appreciate this film, but so, I believe, will general audiences; apart from being a fun, thrilling comedy …
review by . October 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 1/2 stars:They may be old, but they can still kick your ass!
  We are  already half way through the year and that means we are    already half way through the movie season, now I have pretty much seen all the major releases that have come out this year   some great like  "The Social Network",  "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", "Brooklyn's Finest" , "Salt". "She's Out of my League",  "Inception", "Ghost Writer" and many more. What has …
review by . October 18, 2010
RED is the action-comedy about a small group of retired CIA field operatives (Retired, Extremely Dangerous…R.E.D.) who are targeted for elimination by nefarious government groups and must team up to fight off the threat and reveal the culprit.     RED is a silly but very fun movie. It is the sort of movie that would not work, however, if we didn't already have pretty strong impressions and feelings about its stars. If we didn't already think of Helen Mirren as the classy actress …
Quick Tip by . October 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Retired assassins and CIA agents get together to help save a young woman's life while uncovering a conspiracy afoot. Fun action and novelty of seeing an older guard pick up guns and start blasting.
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #5
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this movie


  • Opens October 22, 2010
  • Frank Moses, a former black-ops CIA agent, is now living a quiet life. That is, until the day a hi-tech assassin shows up intent on killing him. With his secret identity compromised and his love interest in danger, Frank must reassemble his old team to figure out who is out to get them.
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich
  • Director: Robert Schwentke
  • Genres: Thriller
  • Based on the cult D.C. Comics graphic novels by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, RED is an action-comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren.

    Frank (Bruce Willis), Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) used to be the CIAs top agents but the secrets they know just made them the Agencys top targets. Now framed for assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history.
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    Genre: Action, Adventure
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Screen Writer: Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber
    Studio: Summit Entertainment
    First to Review

    "The CIA's Most Wanted"
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