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Movie: Red (2010)

You may never have heard of the series of comics that inspired the movie "Red", but the start-studded cast should be very familiar to longtime movie watchers. It is sometimes a gamble to have so many well-known movie stars in one line-up, but I think it's worked out well in this case. The action moves along very quickly from the beginning of the movie and John Malkovich's comedic one-liners are a welcome break from the more serious fare, like brutal fight scenes between Bruce Willis and Karl Urban.

Bruce Willis plays retired CIA agent Frank Moses. Retirement is pretty uneventful compared to his previous career, but he especially enjoys his frequent talks with Sarah, the woman in charge of mailing his retirement checks. He must be extremely hard up for entertainment, as we even see him reading the same trashy romance novel that Sarah confesses she is also currently reading. They make a tentative date to meet up in person, what you can tell is the culmination of a long-time long-distance flirtation. Before Frank can set off to meet up with his sweetheart, his home is invaded by a lethal team of assassins intent on killing him.

I guess no one told the youngsters that RED stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous. Frank must live in the most mellow retirement neighborhood around, because not one of his neighbors comes to see what all that noise is about. Of course, he escapes and sets off to meet up with a couple of his old buddies. Joe (Morgan Freeman) is a terminal patient living in a retirement home, Marvin (John Malkovich) is a loony conspiracy theorist living alone in the wilds, and Victoria is the sniper and medic cum Martha Stewart who longs for the old days. Chasing this band of retirees across the country is Agent William Cooper (Karl Urban). Cooper's introductory scene is one of the most creepy and intense scenes in the whole movie, executed beautifully by Urban.

The plot is sufficiently engaging but not too complex or aloof. Of course, Bruce Willis is badass as always, though soft-spoken Frank is a bit different from the usual hard-ass roles we're used to seeing him in. Someone is using the CIA as their own personal hit squad. Cooper's transformation from a CIA automaton to a complex character and Marvin's comedic timing are the bright spots in this movie. Red is a fun, engaging reminder that just because you're retired, that doesn't mean you're out of the game.

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