RED

Geezers With Guns!

Main Actors: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren

Director: Robert Schwentke

I’m a fan of our aging population.  What an odd statement, you might think – and you would be correct.  But my reasoning is flawless – and aging population results in Geezers With Guns Action Cinema (GWGAC).  What could be more fun?  Nothing, I say!  And to prove me right, along comes RED.

Helmed by Robert Schwentke who also brought us Flightplan and the terrific pilot to the terrific Fox series Lie to Me, RED is the story of retired covert government operatives who find themselves dragged back into service.  Well, not really – they’re just being targeted by killers, just like the old days.  Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, who used to be the best there was in the covert ops game and now spends his days flirting on the phone with a woman at the pension office (Mary Louise Parker).  Not entirely satisfying, but he’s okay with that.  When some ninjas (I mean seriously – ninjas!  How awesome is that!?!) try to take him out he’s on the run, looking for old contacts who can fill him in on what’s going on.

Of course, his search leads him to other retirees – other REDs.  RED being the acronym for Retired – Extremely Dangerous.  First he goes to get his girl (who he deduces using his super covert ops skills will be the next target and of course he’s right) and then moves on to the likes of Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman) and whackadoo Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) as he builds a team to fight the forces trying to take him out.  Along for the ride, eventually, is the fabulous Helen Mirren, kicking ass and taking names in all her regal splendor.  Plus some sweet combat boots.

Oh, this movie is such fun!  These are not aged actors, they’re simply aging the genre that Willis helped create lo those many years ago to fit a new demographic.  Gone are the days when action was a young man’s game – as the country ages we want our heroes to look like us.  And they look fabulous!  They can play an action scene like no others, with many years of experience and training in the fine art of film making allowing them to not only be part of the movie but also part of the fun of all of us vicariously becoming aging action heroes.  There are plenty of winks and nudges and acknowledgment that these are Geezers With Guns in a Hollywood where 25 is over the hill.

The action scenes themselves are top notch with plenty of explosions and car chases and ninjas (of course) and good guys vs. bad guys.  The sight of Helen Mirren manning a sniper rifle in her beautiful fur lined parka is glorious in its incongruity.

But the heart and soul of RED is its actors.  Willis is so in his element that it’s like visiting an old friend (but with a new name).  Freeman is his typical stoic, courageous sidekick and Malkovich his typical nut case.   Mirren is beautiful and dangerous and Parker is more than a little dippy, but sexy and tough.  Each is playing a role they’ve played many times before and doing it with such unbridled, over the top glee that the whole exercise is a joy to watch.  Action movies are never so fun as when they acknowledge exactly what they are and their place in the pantheon of film.  Exciting, with glamour, guns and dames, RED lets all us geezers out here know we aren’t just older, we’re better.  Eat your hearts out, kids, this is one finally made for the grown-ups!

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