Just because you’re no longer on active duty with the CIA doesn’t mean you’re not a target of a nefarious scheme involving murder. That’s what four ‘older’ agents discover, becoming designated as RED: Retired Extremely Dangerous.
Living in suburban Ohio, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is so bored that his primary pleasure is calling Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), his flirtatious pension administrator in Kansas City, to report a missing retirement check. As soon as she sends another, he rips it up and calls her again, just to talk. She wistfully yearns for travel and adventure, while he’s just lonely and obviously smitten with her. But when his home is raided by a hit-tech hit squad, he’s determined to discover who wants him dead. Realizing that his phone’s been tapped, placing Sarah’s in danger, he abruptly kidnaps her. Then they’re off on a
whirlwind trip to recruit three former black-ops colleagues – irrepressibly subversive Joe (Morgan Freeman), paranoid crackpot Marvin (John Malkovich) and sophisticated, elegant Victoria (Helen Mirren) – who are also on a mysterious CIA-sanctioned ‘hit list.’
“We getting the band back together,” muses Joe. “With a small, dedicated group, there’s nothing that cannot be accomplished,” adds Ivan (Brian Cox), a vodka-swilling former Russian spy with a soft spot in his heart for Victoria.
Recapturing the excitement of yesteryear, they’re off to infiltrate the Langley lair of the Defense Department records keeper (Ernest Borgnine) and interrogate an arms contractor (Richard Dreyfuss), evoking memories of a secret mission in Guatemala with repercussions leading to the highest echelons of the Executive Branch of our government.
Humorously scripted by Jon and Erich Hoeber, based on the DC Comics graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and directed by Robert Schwentke (“Flightplan,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife”), it’s a convoluted, adrenaline-pumping, comedic adventure with irresistibly appealing characters whose goofy quirks and pervasive desire to get back into the game are superbly delineated by these veteran
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “RED” is a crowd-pleasing, amusing 8, pitting wisdom and experience against youthful arrogance and gullibility.