“Red” is the story of Frank Moses (Willis), a former black-ops CIA agent, who is now living a quiet life. That is, until the day a hi-tech assassin shows up intent on killing him. With his identity compromised and the life of the woman he cares for, Sarah (Parker), endangered, Frank reassembles his old team (Freeman, Malkovich and Mirren) in a last ditch effort to survive. “Red” is based on the DC Comics graphic novel of the same name by Warren Ellis.
We learn in this movie that “Red” stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous”. This speaks of Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a former CIA agent whose quiet life won’t last long. He spends his time phoning a woman at work whom he enjoys speaking with, Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), and soon she is in the middle of a death threat along with Moses because certain powers are aware he likes her.
Government corruption and war crimes play a part in this film’s plot and John Malkovich is delightful as the comedic relief as he plays a man who is not working on all cylinders yet seems to know what is going to happen before it does. In one scene he kills several people who targeted himself and his allies, and then says, “Let’s go get some pancakes!” He is also seen in a dress and blonde wig, playing a young girl and, well, I won’t give too much away but he is genuinely funny in this movie.
For awhile it is difficult to tell who is innocent and who is guilty, and whether or not the Vice President of the United States is involved in a serious cover-up is another plot twist. The movie features some fine actors. In addition to Willis and Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman and even Ernest Borgnine show up. Mary Louise Parker is quite good as Sarah, the woman Frank Moses falls for and Karl Urban is also good as an assassin, a man who believes he is working on the right side of his government, only to learn how tangled a web the politicians sometimes weave. This story is imaginative and includes some fine performances and it is a shame the entire family can’t enjoy it, but due to language, violence, and the drug rating just hitting an unacceptable level, we are unable to award our Dove Seal to this picture as a family-friendly film.