Saturday, October 16, 2010


The Film: RED

The Actors: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Mary Louise Parker, Karl Urban, John Malkovich, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfus, Julian McMahon, Brian Cox, etc.

The Dealio: Retired (Extremely Dangerous) CIA agents are being killed off with extreme prejudice. There is a long lead-in to the why of it all, but along the way to there, we get to meet assorted agents who have pitted their own necessary accommodations with on-coming years and their desire to keep their hands in, doing what they did best. Think of it as The Expendables with good actors. Yeah, I know. I know! Willis was in both. But in TE, he got a minute here and there to smirk and sidle into and out of the flick. Here, he was actually given some dialogue and plot with which to work.

The Grading Session: 4.31 pengies out of 5. Was Goldfinger a better spy movie? Um. I'm gonna go with a yeah on that one. Did Goldfinger have as much fun? Well. That depends. Have you ever wanted to see Queen Elizabeth handling a RPG? In a white silk formal? Okay, then. I'm just sayin'.
Improbable, fantastical, top-loaded with action and contrasted with a sprinkling of tenderness and unexpected sweetness in some of the interpersonal relations, this film was never boring, but never high art, either. In short: Don't be so intellectually snobbish and demanding: go see an entertaining film that showcases some highly talented actors playing against type...and having a...well, a blast. Literally.

Lessons Learned: Apparently, you will know that your spy-significant-other loves you if (s)he shoots you three times in the chest, instead of going for the more trad double tap to the melon. Not to mention that Mary Louise Parker apparently has about 12 more muscles in her lips, which she uses to extremely wonderful effect throughout. Wait...did I just mention it, after all?
Also: retirement may sound great, but often is simply a matter of not doing the things you used to be able to do before. With panache.
Lastly: although it is largely a fantasy, it surely is suh-WEET to think of a bunch of retirement-aged old dogs putting young pups in their places. Suh-weet, but ultimately, not jolly likely. Or is it? What is that saying? Something along the lines of: Age and deviousness will always out-trump youth and vigor. Make it so.

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