Bayard, Holmes, Movie, No Popcorn: RED

Per a request from our reader, Ellie Ann Soderstrom, Holmes and I sat down together a while back to review the movie, RED. RED is a movie about a retired black-ops CIA agent who puts his old team back together when someone tries to assassinate him. Both Holmes and I found this film delightful, and we weren’t even drinking guinda that evening. . . .

RED Movie Poster


I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It’s what I think of as a “Nolan Ryan film.” For those of you who are not adherents of the faith of Baseball, as I am, Nolan Ryan pitched a perfect game in 1991 at the age of forty-four. In other words, he was an old dude showing the puppies how it’s done. Likewise, RED is a tribute to the timeless adage that age and treachery will win over youth and skill every time. I don’t know about you, but I like that theme more and more with every passing year.

As an author, one character I particularly appreciated was Frank, played by Bruce Willis. Frank is a kick-ass former government agent who reads romance novels and is sweet on Sarah (Mary Louise Parker), a customer service representative he’s only ever talked to on the phone. This caught my heart right away because there’s really something to that notion of the sensitive tough guy.

Over the years, I’ve known a variety of individuals who could reasonably be classified as, “bad-ass dudes.” Each and every one of them had a soft spot. . . . Some well-developed aspect of gentleness. . . . From a Hell’s Angel who photographed flowers to a Delta Force original who taught aikido to the softest, greenest civilians Continuing Education could send him. So the fact that Frank in the movie was a retired spook who read romance novels made him real and well-rounded to me right from the start.

As a belly dancer and a woman, I loved Helen Mirren’s evening dress with combat boots. As Mama always said, “Shoes and handbag make the outfit.” Mirren was brilliant in the role of Victoria, the high-class cross between Florence Nightingale and Attila the Hun that Frank used to work with.

I think this movie would be great fun for anyone who enjoys colorful, well-developed characters in extremely unrealistic situations.


If you’re looking for a serious spy story sort of movie, this wouldn’t be it, but if you want a laugh, this is a good movie for you. I don’t want to criticize the what-ifs because they weren’t trying to be serious. Even “old hands” from the Reagan Era can enjoy this movie. Just relax and don’t take it seriously.

Regarding the trick of putting bullets in a skillet and heating them up to make them fire. . . . Bullets only sound like they have been fired from a weapon if they are fired in a weapons chamber or test chamber. Bullets heated in a skillet would sound like the cheapest grade of half wet firecrackers. Also, pan frying bullets won’t fire the bullet, but shell casing fragments could fly fast enough to hurt your eye. Do not try this at home.

Joe, Marvin and Frank questioning a prisoner

As far as the Retired Extremely Dangerous designation is concerned, there is no big file of REDs. The two basic categories of retired CIA agents are “Retired and Willing to Work for Free” and “Retired and Not Willing to Work for Free.”

We rate this movie a .357, which means we wouldn’t resent paying prime time prices if we were willing to tolerate the prime time crowds, which we’re not. (Click here for rating system.) It was a creative, entertaining movie, and we can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to enjoy it. It’s not deeply meaningful or life-changing, but it’s good, light fun. The script was well-written, the actors did their jobs well, and the production was high quality. We recommend this movie as an amusing way to spend a couple of hours of your life.

25 comments on “Bayard, Holmes, Movie, No Popcorn: RED

  1. ellieswords says:

    I love that movie. I thought Carl Urban was great in it, and Malkovich’s hideout was hilarious.
    Great review!! 🙂

  2. Lili Tufel says:

    I just saw this movie recently and loved it! I’m so glad Ellie asked for the review 🙂 I totally turned to my hubby while watching and asked, “Can bullets really do that?” Great review! Oh and I need to mention my favorite part. Bruce Willis breaks into her house and she asks, “Did you vacuum?”

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Lol. I had the same reaction so I specifically asked Holmes to address that. Good thing he did. Otherwise the engineers in my house might have tried it just for kicks. And that is a great part about the vacuuming. I certainly wish Bruce Willis would break into my house and vacuum. Burly fellow like that could probably get a lot of housework done in a day. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Shellie Sakai says:

    Hey Piper and Holmes,

    Haven’t seen the movie but, I will definately put it on my list to see. I love that smirk that Bruce Willis gets on his face when he is being wicked.

    Have you seen “The Whole Nine Yards”? He plays a hitman that gets out of prison and moves to Canada. His neighbor is played by Matthew Perry. It is pretty funny.

    Thanks for the heads up on the movie.

    Take care,

  4. Manon Eileen says:

    Lol. I liked this movie, but it’s not the one of the best I’ve seen… I thought it was a tad too superficial for that. I loved Helen Mirren though. She nailed it.

    Loved the review 😀 Thanks!

  5. educlaytion says:

    Nice baseball tie in Piper! I’m a big Nolan Ryan fan for sure. I also saw Red recently and found it creative and good as well. Nice review. I’ll be sure to keep my bullets out of the frying pan.

  6. Dave says:

    I loved the movie. Fantastic casting. Malkovich does whack jobs really well. My favorite scene is Helen Mirren popping out from arranging flowers with the submachine gun.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      You know, I think every bouquet should be arranged in such a fashion that it can conceal a submachine gun. That way, the flowers are just beautiful, they’re useful. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Jess Witkins says:

    I really liked this movie and recommended it to others too. I love Frank talking to Sarah on the phone and then the awkward “rescue” and car chases that ensue. And I mean c’mon, John Malkovich is hiding in some veritable fortress blending into a swamp! I’m all smiles with this film.

  8. Loved the movie! I love it when they say that she did not shoot him in the head because she loves him. That’s so twisted! Then there’s a thick file of Bruce Willis. Highly recommended.

  9. kadja1 says:

    I love that movie and I felt the same way about Helen Mirren w/the evening dress & combat boots!

  10. Jami Gold says:

    I loved this movie! It has the humor, the romance, the action, the spy stuff – it has it all. 🙂 And I now love Helen Mirren. LOL!

  11. So pleasantly surprised by this movie, but even more so by your review! Thanks for the tip about frying bullets… I recommended the movie to a bunch of friends and hope they checked it out. Hollywood needs more great scripts for a generation of actors who are just older, not over.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Good thing Holmes addressed those frying bullets. I’m getting the impression a number of people would try them out at home. I’m with you. More scripts for the older generation of talented actors. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  12. […] Bayard, Holmes, Movie, No Popcorn: RED @ Piper Bayard – a great review of the movie RED! […]

  13. Moriah says:

    Hi, loved the review. I work in a call center and I love the romance of lonely single meeting lonely black ops agent. And Moses reading the novels to understand her was priceless. The movie was so fun, I didn’t have a single “that can’t happen” moment from start to end. Even getting the pig thru the airport post 9/11 would be possible for these guys.

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Wasn’t that a fun movie? Start to finish, it was beautifully done. I love the spy movies that don’t take themselves seriously. As for the rest of them that do, if they don’t get obvious things right, like the fact that guns have recoil, they just irritate me. Nice to meet you, Moriah. Thanks for stopping by.

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