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Red movie poster

RED: Movie Review

Genre: Action, Comedy
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine, Julian McMahon
Released by: Summit Entertainment

In Short: “RED” delivers a funny, fast-paced action flick while celebrating its cast of mostly AARP-eligible stars; old folks rule!

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Laughing Off Old Age

Is there any doubt that the Baby Boomer generation still has a hold on the Hollywood firmament? Sure, maybe films like Summit Entertainment’s “Twilight” saga are filled with and skew toward teens, but that company also knows that the older set can still fill seats in the theater, especially when a film’s concept and execution are done to perfection.

That’s the case with “RED,” Summit’s latest offering, the new action comedy based on the graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner and brought to the screen by director Robert Schwentke (“Flightplan,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife”).

The story is simple. Three retired CIA secret agents — played by Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich — are targeted for assassination, because of a long-forgotten covert operation in Guatemala. That threat comes just as all three are feeling pretty bored by being out of the game, so back in they go — and with gusto.

Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich in Red Helen Mirren and John Malkovich in Red

In their quest to stop the killers from taking them down, the guys recruit two other old friends for help, a British MI-6 retired pro (Helen Mirren) and a still-in-the-game Russian spy (Brian Cox). Plus, they even find a love interest for Willis, the still-sexy leading man of the tale. In a wonderful and hilarious performance, Mary-Louise Parker steals every scene she’s in as that slightly inadvertent girlfriend. That’s quite an accomplishment, considering that the five actors who play the aging spies are some of the best thespians working in movies today and prove it every time they are on camera.

In fact, the whole cast (which also includes Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Julian McMahon and Ernest Borgnine) is simply pitch-perfect, combining snappy dialogue with eye-popping action sequences as they advance a plot that is actually all too believable in today’s scandal-ridden political arena. Willis and Freeman are as charming as ever, Malkovich is suitably loony, and Mirren completely wonderful as a combination of Martha Stewart and James Bond. Just seeing her wielding a massive machine gun is worth the price of admission; it’s guaranteed to crack you up.

With its fast pace and comical tone, “RED” offers up a rollicking night at the movies, and an enjoyable ride no matter what your age.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

(Updated: 10/15/10 CT)

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