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RED (2010)

Aging gracefully...with really big guns

Image credit: Frank Masi

Details Release Date: Oct 15, 2010; With: Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Bruce Willis; Distributor: Summit Entertainment

STARRING Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren
WRITTEN BY Erich Hoeber
DIRECTED BY Robert Schwentke

It's not every day that a comic-book adaptation appeals to the AARP crowd. But with RED (which stands for ''Retired and Extremely Dangerous''), adapted from Warren Ellis' popular 2003 graphic novel, screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber melded a high-stakes actioner with well-pedigreed actors including Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, and John Malkovich. Willis plays a former covert CIA agent named Frank Moses who, after the CIA tries to kill him, reunites with many of his old associates. ''All these characters are mysterious,'' says Freeman, 73. ''They are black-ops people who either worked for or through the CIA. Someone is after them, and they are forced back into the game.''

Part of that game, of course, involves arms — excessive amounts of arms. Which was a total hoot for much of the cast, particularly Dame Helen. ''If you fire a gun, you blink — that's what normal humans do,'' says director Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler's Wife). ''But Helen never blinked. She looks like she's been around guns all her life.'' Mirren's character also manages to reconnect with her ex-flame (Brian Cox) in the middle of a shoot-out. ''One minute you have Helen rekindling a love affair with this man,'' says Schwentke, ''and the next she's holding a .50 caliber machine gun and firing away.'' Not bad for a former Queen of England.

Originally posted Aug 17, 2010 Published in issue #1116-1117 Aug 20, 2010 Order article reprints