Red

 

Summit Entertainment

 

PG-13

 

Plot Summary: When a retired CIA agent becomes the target for assassination, he must reassemble his team to uncover who is behind a string of murders.

 

Reason for the Rating: Intense sequences of action violence and brief strong language.

 

RED is not what I expected. Oh, I knew the basic plotline...ex-CIA agents reassemble for some reason or other, but what I didn't expect was how out of the box funny it was going to be. It's not often you catch an action-comedy, which is just as much comedy as action.

 

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is a retired black ops CIA agent, and is therefore coded RED...Retired, Extremely Dangerous. But, in retirement, he doesn't seem all that dangerous. In fact, he seems kind of bored with this new life of normalcy, and a bit uncomfortable as he tries to figure out how to live in a neighborhood as a regular guy. With no family or friends, he finds himself regularly calling the Social Security office that oversees his pension, so he can talk with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), who oversees his pension. She's one person he enjoys talking to, and truth be told, would like to meet her someday.

 

Yes, retired life is pretty hum-drum for Frank, until the day an attempt is made on his life by a squad of hit-men. Realizing someone has been tracking him, he heads out to Kansas City to meet/kidnap Sarah, as he figures her life is probably in danger too. Which it is. And so they begin a cross-country adventure to reassemble his old CIA team and discover the truth of who is behind this assassination attempt.

 

Their first stop is in New Orleans, where Joe (Morgan Freeman) is spending his remaining years in a retirement home. Realizing they need additional information, they head off to find Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), another team member who was formerly given daily doses of LSD as experimental mind-control. Needless to say, he's a bit paranoid and crazy. Which is a part John Malkovich plays so well. Additional members of the team are Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox), who were former lovers, until Victoria had to shoot him in the chest to prove her allegiance to London.

 

So, what was I expecting from RED? Something more along the lines of a "serious" CIA movie: The Bourne Identity, Patriot Games, or The Hunt for Red October. But I was so not disappointed. Let's face it, with John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker, this is bound to be some kind of funny. Add to that the unexpectedly funny Helen Mirren and the dry wit of Bruce Willis, I wasn't the only one laughing throughout this movie.

 

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RED is a movie those with some movie history will enjoy, due to the cast. Who doesn't remember Bruce Willis in Die Hard, or John Malkovich in Of Mice and Men? Ernest Borgnine even makes an appearance. Yet this is also a movie you can take your teens to, as the action and comedy are perfect for all ages.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• When Sarah met Frank, she began an adventure that she otherwise wouldn't have had. Tell about a friendship that caused you to move out of your comfort zone, in a fun kind of way.

 

• The characters in this movie were quite colorful. Who was your favorite character? Explain.

 

• Due to their background, Frank, Joe, Marvin, Victoria, and Ivan have a different view of life and death than the normal person. How have your experiences affected your view of life? death? God?

 

--JW

 

Note: All movie-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective movie studios. 

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