Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich in Red
Freeman, who originated the role of Alex Cross in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, oddly was the likeliest of this trio of codgers to play a ''Retired and Extremely Dangerous'' CIA assassin. Based on his prolific career, the mannered Malkovich would rank next after playing a CIA agent gone back in 1993's In the Line of Fire. Least likely to rock this role? All bets would have been on Mirren, who was better known for waving off Brits, instead of baddies, as The Queen's Elizabeth II. And yet it was Mirren who turned out to be the most effective actioner of the bunch. Then again, Freeman, Malkovich, and Mirren's fourth co-star Bruce Willis also once found himself on the receiving end of doubts when he signed up for Die Hard. Dare we hope for more Mirren shoot-'em-ups in the future?