“Red”

 
In the opening credits, we see the DC Comics logo, with some quick pulp graphics, and right away we know we’re in for the kind of story that doesn’t even try to be believable, just entertaining.  And away we go.
Bruce Willis plays the ex-CIA agent who’s trying to quietly retire in an anonymous suburb somewhere in Cleveland , Ohio .  (The character names aren’t important, with such a memorable cast.) He finds himself so desperately lonely that he makes conversation with an anonymous clerk, played by Mary-Louise Parker, at the call center where his pension checks are processed.  He even lies, and tells her that he has some business in Kansas City the next week, and might she possibly be available for lunch?
But turn the first page of a comic book, and you’re ready for the black ops action:  mysterious black-clad operatives invade Willis’ nondescript house, and he, of course, summarily dispatches them, but he knows there are more where they came from.  And he tries to warn the hapless Parker, but soon she’s embroiled in the chase, and before long we’ve recruited his old partner, John Malkovich, and their mentor, Morgan Freeman, not-so-happily ensconced in a nursing home somewhere, and only too delighted to go ride for one last adventure, along with the one gun-toting secret agent who takes everyone by surprise, Helen Mirren.
Yes, of course, they all get to blaze away at the anonymous adversaries, but the ensuing bloodshed is, well, pretty bloodless.  They fall and fade from view like they would in a video game.  Our lovely band of Aging Baby Boomers doesn’t exactly escape unscathed, but those of us “of a certain age” enjoy seeing them kick some proverbial posterior, after being taken too lightly by those whose youth makes them underestimate their formidable foes.  Delicious, ain’t it? 
The fact that there’s a hint of dirty politicians authorizing anonymous “hits” in the name of national security hardly even makes us blink, which is a political commentary in itself.
Don’t expect suspension of disbelief.  But “Red” is a happily cheesy tale well-processed for the old salt set.
 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas