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Bruce Willis leads the classiest action movie of the year

You’ve seen Red’s setup dozens of times before: A group of retired CIA operatives are being hunted by their former bosses because they know too much about something that happened a long, long time ago, so they go on the run, using the tricks and weapons of their trade to stay alive. But you’ve rarely seen a cast like this in this sort of movie: Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren, plus Oscar nominee John Malkovich, all headed by Bruce Willis. The well-pedigreed acting crew brings a sense of oh-what-the-hell fun to the film, which is based on a comic book series that you probably never heard of. Still, despite some stylish set pieces from director Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife), Red doesn’t stray too far from action-movie convention. The kick here is the game cast (especially Malkovich’s batshit-crazy loner), winking at and tweaking their screen images. The witty one-liners, the big-ass explosions, Willis’ love-hate relationship with Mary-Louise Parker – it’s all standard stuff. Helen Mirren in a cocktail dress wielding a ginormous gun? Kinda awesome.

More by Michael Gallucci

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