Will Preston

A whole movie getting dedicated to ‘getting too old for this shit!’

by on Nov.19, 2010, under Films, Review

Let’s face it; all the best action hero’s are growing old. Arnie is governing California with a wilting fist, Clint Eastwood has shifted to behind the camera and a legion of classic leading men have finally snuffed it. We don’t mention Harrison Ford’s last Indy outing. You can’t escape the incontinent hand of old age. So what better way then to make film about ageing secret agents dealing with an assassin plot, as well as adjusting to to the beige coloured era we call the winter years. I say make a film, it was a comic first. One that I will be hunting down once I finished my copy of Kick Ass and V For Vendetta.

No one asked questions about Malkovich's suit...

Bruce Willis (without a vest) plays Frank Moses, a former CIA agent who is not taking retirement well. Despite a nice suburban house, he is lonely and frustrated at reaching a quiet stage in his life. Mary-Louise Parker plays a customer service agent, Sarah, who talks to Frank over the phone about ‘problems’ with his pension. There’s no problems; he just wants someone to talk to, and they have already gained a nice rapport at this point. As luck would have it, a hit squad armed to the teeth, tonsils and throat attempt to eliminated Frank in his house in the most ham fisted way possible. This movie is not about subtlety, in case you were wondering, but that’s it’s strength.

After dispensing some OAP justice on the bad bastards, Frank realises that they have tapped his phone and kidnaps Sarah for her own safety. Keep in mind that it;s the first time they’ve ever met in person, leading to some very funny in car talk. I say talk, it’s hard to hear her when she gagged with masking tape. In pursuit is, comparably, fresh faced Agent Cooper (Karl Urban). The maguffin in the film is the death of a news reporter, which leads the hero to a hit list with some of his old colleagues on. This brings out the rest of the cast, all old and raring to go. Jonh Malkovich’s  LSD addled Marvin was the films breakout character with a tendency to do the most paranoid and craziest of actions. He no longer sleeps in his own house, but keeps it as a distraction; his real home is a secret bunker where the government ‘can’t read his mind’. Brilliant.

I have not clue what John is holding

Frank’s mentor is played by a retired Morgan Freeman, who might as well be everyone’s mentor. He seems to be typecast into that role, but plays it well. It’s him or Jack Bauer I’d obey without question. The rest of the film unfolds as an antidote to the Bourne films. Less of the I-don’t-know-where-to-look-so-I’ll-look-at-all-angles-every-second camera work, and a lot less of the gritty narrative that has been far too overdone recently. There are some fantastic little twists that feel very close to the early series’ of 24, as well as some pretty over the top action scenes that have a sense of humour lightly spread over them.

One character that was great to watch was Helen Mirren’s Victoria who is the perfect unexpected killer. Even when she’s manning a fifty calibre mounted gun, you both believe she can do that like a pro and still see her as a charming older lady. Firing an MP5 at a gang of secret service agents one minute and being hopelessly lovely the next. It was a real joy to watch her. Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfuss and Brian Cox pop up with some great scenes, too. Dreyfuss fits the sleazy bad guy a little too good in this case, Borgnine is still the lovable old man, and Cox plays a typical Vodka swigging ex-Russian spy. There’s not much to say apart from they fitted the roles well. Hopefully we’ll start seeing a surge of funny action films, instead of the gritty kind. As long as they stay well away from Michael Bay.

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