You can take the agent out of the CIA, but you can''t take the CIA out of the agent--or so discovers Frank Moses, to his chagrin. Frank, played by Bruce Willis, simply wants to live his simple life with his government pension. But when a troop of black-ops guys descends on his house one night and blows it to smithereens, Frank realizes he needs to get a few of his old colleagues together and find out what''s what. That''s the premise of Red, a jolly action flick based on a rather more serious graphic novel. Because Frank''s old posse includes kicky roles for Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and a tea-pouring, hot-lead-spraying Helen Mirren, the movie boasts a certain appeal just at the "Holy cow, can you believe who''s in this thing?" level. Actually, the rest of the cast is pretty sweet as well: Mary-Louise Parker steals much of the film as Frank''s unsuspecting civilian date (swept into the action because she might innocently become a CIA target, too), Brian Cox hams it up as Frank''s former Soviet adversary (wistfully recalling how he always wanted to assassinate a US president), and Karl Urban (Star Trek) supplies brawn and brains as the current CIA agent in charge of bringing the hammer down on Frank. The breezy tone barely pauses to notice the semi-serious story point at the heart of the plot (a hazily recalled disaster in Guatemala many years earlier), nor the dead bodies that pile up around the edges of the action. Flightplan director Robert Schwentke lets his actors act up, which is not a capital crime given the skills of the cast list, and he shoves the plot along with fitting speed. It''s not art, but as a multiplex diversion, Red scatters a decent share of legitimate jolts and rim-shot one-liners. --Robert Horton
Frank (Willis) is a former black-ops CIA agent living a quiet life alone... until the day a hit squad shows up to kill him. With his identity compromised, Frank reassembles his old team Joe (Freeman), Marvin (Malkovich) and Victoria (Mirren) and sets out to prove that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Stand back and watch the bullets fly in this explosive action-comedy that critics call a rip-roaring good time.
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