Helen Mirren stars as an aging action hero in 'Red.'
Frank Masi/Summit Entertainment/AP
If you're like me, you'll put up with a lot of malarkey in a movie just to see Helen Mirren wielding a semiautomatic weapon. You may argue that Helen Mirren wielding a semiautomatic weapon is also malarkey. Maybe so, but malarkey doesn't get any better.
Mirren is one of several overqualified actors who are featured in the graphic-novel-derived, comic action escapade "RED," and she doesn't appear until well into the movie. Until then, we have to satisfy ourselves with a motley crew of oddball luminaries, including Bruce Willis, over-underacting as former black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses, and John Malkovich, under-overacting as ex-CIA loon Marvin Boggs.
Retired Frank has been living a gratifyingly boring and solitary life in the burbs when his home is inexplicably invaded by a high-tech hit squad, which he methodically dispatches. Up until this point he's been periodically amusing himself flirting on the phone with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), the administrator of his pension checks.
On the pretext of a business trip, he arranges a blind date with her. In the wake of the attack, fearing she may also be implicated, Frank converts the date into a kidnapping. Sarah complains, but not too convincingly. Frank, is, after all, more exciting than the losers she's been hooking up with.