RED (2010)

"Red Hot Action"

Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.

What You Need To Know:

RED stars Bruce Willis as Frank Moses, a former black-ops CIA agent. The CIA has labeled Frank Retired, Extremely Dangerous. When a foreign hit team shows up at Frank’s door, he has to reassemble his old team to find out who’s trying to kill him and his old friends. With his new girlfriend in tow, Frank and his team have to break into CIA headquarters to learn more. Then, they have to go up against the government to stop a plot by an illegal arms dealer to hide a secret and control the government.

RED is a red-hot spy thriller with plenty of intense shoot-em-up, explosive action sequences and lots of winsome, oddball humor. This combination is a perfect match for Bruce Willis. He is ably supported by several top-flight, veteran actors, including the fabulous Ernest Borgnine. Of course, Bruce and his fictional friends are the good guys. They do what they can to protect the innocent, though they sometimes use questionable spy-type methods. RED also contains strong foul language and intense action violence, so media-wise caution is advised. Those problems aside, RED makes for a fun, rewarding time at the movies.


(BB, PP, C, Acap, LL, VV, A, DD, M) Strong moral worldview with some strong patriotic content in plot about the CIA being used for a political cover-up but the average CIA agent is the good guy not the bad guy, family is extolled and Christmas is referenced, but the positive worldview is minimized by some questionable elements such as threats from lead good guy trying to get a CIA agent to believe his story and vaguely anti-capitalist subplot where defense contractor is an illegal arms dealer; 17 obscenities (including a few “h” words, three “s” words and one “f” word), five strong profanities (one borderline) and three light profanities; plenty of strong action violence includes men with guns shoot up house and car, some bad guys get shot dead or wounded, intense gunfights where nobody gets shot dead, villain gets a karate chop to the throat but we never learn if the guy was killed or not, a villain deliberately shot by one of his own, explosions, grenade blows up man in a fiery ball of flame, a family is threatened verbally; no sex scenes or lewd behavior; no nudity; alcohol use; no smoking but it is mentioned that one character was forced to be part of a government LSD experiment years ago, woman is put to sleep by a drug and a villain with a syringe is put to sleep or killed by the syringe himself in a fight; and, man lies so he can have an excuse to keep phoning a woman he likes, wealthy business owner tries to sell arms illegally to a man posing as an African despot, good guys break into CIA headquarters to get classified information to find out who’s trying to assassinate them and ending implies another CIA cover-up may be needed to clean up a mess caused by some evil conspirators.

More Detail:

RED is the hottest action flick of the year. It has a fun plot with engaging characters and plenty of winsome humor and intense shoot-em-up action. There are some problems, however, so media-wisdom is advised.

Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, a retired black-ops CIA agent living a quiet life alone in Cleveland (the movie’s title is actually an acronym meaning “Retired, Extremely Dangerous”). To pass the time of day, Frank tears up his retirement checks so he can telephone a pretty government worker in Kansas City named Sarah (played by Mary-Louise Parker). Eventually, he arranges a meeting with her there.

Before Frank can leave for Kansas City, however, a hi-tech foreign hit squad shows up at his house with machine guns blazing. Frank dispatches them post haste and rushes to protect Sarah because he assumes his phone calls to her were tapped. With Sarah in tow, Frank reassembles his old team in a fight for survival. They have to break into the CIA to find out why some of them are being targeted for assassination by people in the government.

RED has a lot of winsome, oddball humor. At one point, for example, Frank has to tie up Sarah and tape her mouth so he can have time to convince her that the people trying to kill him will likely try to kill her too. She doesn’t buy his story at first, and she angrily tries to give Frank a piece of her mind while her mouth’s taped. Also, one of Frank’s old team members, Marvin (played by John Malkovich), is a super-paranoid, sarcastic guy who wants to shoot first and ask questions later. So, Frank has to keep talking him down from the edge. In one scene, Marvin grabs a chubby middle-aged woman walking behind them outside an airport and threatens her with a gun for following them. Frank forces Marvin to let her go. Later, of course, it’s revealed that the woman actually was indeed part of the hit team trying to kill them, and she and Marvin face off in a gunfight, but her gun is a rocket launcher.

All this humor mixed with red-hot action scenes makes a perfect vehicle for Bruce Willis, who turns in another entertaining performance. Bruce’s supporting cast is filled with many talented veterans, including not only the aforementioned John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker, but also Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Richard Dreyfuss, Karl Urban of STAR TREK and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and the great Ernest Borgnine. The plot lags only a little bit just before the third act, but things pick up pretty quickly for the movie’s final showdown.

There’s some strong foul language in RED, however, as well as plenty of action violence, explosions, and shoot-outs. Also, although the good guys are trying to clear their names and stop a conspiracy, they sometimes use questionable means to succeed, including murderous threats, kidnapping and shooting at Secret Service agents protecting a high government official who happens to be one of the villains. Their ultimate intention, however, is not to hurt anyone, including the Secret Service agents, and to protect innocent people, like the hero’s new girlfriend, Sarah. In the end, things turn out okay, though there’s an implication that another CIA cover-up of some sort might be necessary.

All in all, RED is one of the most entertaining pictures of the year. Viewers should exercise media-wise caution, however, for the movie’s more questionable, objectionable elements.

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