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Laramie Movie Scope: Red (2010)

Old School Spies

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 17, 2010 -- This is a case of sheer quality and quantity of acting talent coming to the rescue of a wayward film. It is pretty hard to go wrong when you've got actors of the calibre of Morgan Freeman and Hellen Mirren working for you along with stars like Bruce Willis, Richard Dreyfuss, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Ernest Borgnine and Karl Urban. The makers of this film almost managed to sink it with a wandering script and poor pacing, but it is rescued by the actors.

The story has Willis, a bored ex-CIA operative named Frank Moses, trying to date a woman he's never met in person, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker of “The Spiderwick Chronicles”) when suddenly a hit squad tries to kill him. He knows they'll be after Sarah, too, so he kidnaps her to keep her safe, while he contacts his old friends in the spy business to try to find out who is trying to kill him and why. Showing an absurdly detailed knowledge of library cataloging systems, Frank uncovers a list of people who are being systematically killed. Every time he contacts another of his old friends, they too, become targets. Most of them, like Frank, are retired and bored with civilian life. They welcome the chance to get back in the game, despite the danger. All of them are being pursued by a relentless hit man, William Cooper (Karl Urban of “The Bourne Supremacy”). Frank begins to see Cooper as a man very much like he was when he was younger and more naive.

The plot is mostly one long chase with a couple of heists thrown in. One caper has Frank and Sarah breaking into the CIA with the aid of a Russian spy, Ivan Simanov, (Brian Cox of “The Bourne Supremacy”). Another caper has the team kidnapping the Vice President of the United States. Simanov has a hand in that one, too. In fact, Simanov is one of the more endearing characters in the film, which is nice for Cox, who is usually cast as a heavy. Both of these capers are fun, but extremely far fetched. Indeed, there is very little in this film that is serious, except for a few deaths, and even those are not always treated in a serious way. This is a fun film to watch, but not as fun as it should have been. The pace is too slow and the plot too convoluted. Some of the plot is just plain ridiculous, but the likeable actors make it work despite that. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2010 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)