Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses a retired assassin living a pretty boring life. He rips up his social security checks just to call the support line to chat up a beautiful woman played Mary-Louise Parker. Then suddenly his life becomes way more interesting when a “WET team” shows up and tries to kill him. Basically the “WET team” is a CIA hit squad. Knowing who they are Moses tracks down his long distance flirt and basically kidnaps her. From there he tracks down his old team mates, starting with the charming Morgan Freeman playing Joe and John Malkovich who plays an insane man named John Malkovich… I mean Marvin. Then later they find Helen Mirren who plays the awesome bad ass named Victoria. They are being tracked by unknown forces one of those being the amazing Karl Urban who after Star Trek can do no wrong in my eyes.
The film is essentially very basic, a bunch of spies being tracked down, so they piece together who wants them dead. Where this movie makes its mark is how amazingly charming it is. The movie is down right funny, Willis here seems to have new life. The movie mixes action with witty dialogue and frankly the balance could have easily gone wrong but here it doesn’t. The actors here just fluid work well and they just come off as old friends. The one performance that stands out to me is Malkovich who had a string of bad movie performances(Jonah Hex anyone?) but really threw every punch here and had me laughing pretty constantly. Along with that the film is rated PG-13 but you don’t notice it. Some action films try so hard to work with the lower rating that it comes off badly and sometimes ruins the vibe of the film. Here you can never tell what rating the film has.
My only problem with the film is the lack of a real villain, sure some emerge towards the end but no villain stands out. Fun action movies like this give you liberties to have over the top bad guys. Look at The Losers that came out this year. A funny action film where the villain was so over the top bad but it just worked because the film didn’t take itself too seriously. RED is a different film of course but an over the top villain could have worked here, the lack of one doesn’t really hurt the film just the end lacks a punch because the villain kind of just pops up. Still RED hits a bullseye on almost every level, also nice to see an action film with actual adults in it and not teens trying to act adult. Also a breath of fresh air seeing Bruce Willis being back in action. I hope he sticks with this and if there is a Die Hard 5 I want this Willis to return.