Red stars Bruce Willis as a retired CIA spook – Retired Extremely Dangerous, geddit? – who’s trying to bland in (sic) to civilian life. The only thing that keeps him from killing himself from boredom and loneliness, basically, is his telephone relationship with his pension officer. So when his home is invaded by a black ops hit squad (SethEffriken hit squad, no less), he packs his guns and his fake passports (again, SethEffriken – what gives? I was beginning to sense a theme) and sets out to find out why. Or more precisely, why now? To do so he has to enlist the help of several other retired but bored old spy mates.

So what to tell you? Let me start by suggesting it’s not a terribly good film. The characters are pretty undeveloped and there’s little reason given for why anyone does what they do, nor why they seem so flippant and unaffected by the fact that they basically kill people for money. And given that goodies and baddies here are ALL assassins, no one is a particularly accurate shot. That always pisses me off in movies.

But now I’ve said the pfaffy, niggling stuff, I will clarify to anyone willing to listen: Red is a ridiculously entertaining film. I actually thoroughly enjoyed it – laugh-out-loud enjoyed it – and it moves at such a pace and with such panache, and with such great “shit-blows-up”, you really don’t care about the shortcomings. And lightly pencilled characters are more than accounted for by great actors doing great work – the range and versatility of Mary Louise Parker (in a role that’s unfairly sketchy) is particularly stand out.

Red filmed in Louisiana (cue humid, southerny country-ish locations) and Toronto (cue brisk, wintry northerny city ones.)

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