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

Bayard

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.

Holmes:

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.