Most action movies nowadays have young pretty people in exotic locations performing outlandish stunts and huge explosions. This is not one of those movies. At least not the age quotient or exotic locals anyways. The rest is a loud, brash, huge amount of fun that most movies this year have a suspicious lack of. Bruce Willis' last movie Cop Out wasn't half as good as this and it shows in the actor's performance. You can tell he's having a blast with the part, one of his best since John McClane.
Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired, lonely spook who tears up his social security checks so he can talk to a pretty customer service rep, Sarah, the electric Mary Louise Parker. With these early scenes, we get all sorts of important background on these two, destined to fall for each other. After hanging up with her, Frank's house is turned into Swiss cheese by a hit squad. He expertly dispatches the bad guys and heads to Kansas City, knowing that they will soon be after his beloved Sarah. Once there, she of course thinks he's a raving loon and is forced to kidnap here to protect her. As she soon finds out that there really are people out to kill her, she helps Frank track down his old team who are also in danger. Morgan Freeman is Joe, dying of stage four liver cancer. John Malkovich is Martin, an agent driven batty by years of secret LSD test done on him. Rounding them out is Dame Helen Mirren, a spitfire of dangerous weapons. They team up, along with Brian Cox's Russian Ivan, to foil the CIA's assassins after them for unknown reasons which I won't spoil here. The movie is nonstop action, comedy and a sprinkle of drama to give us one of the years best pictures. Karl Urban, best known as Dr. McCoy in the Star Trek reboot, gives a real gravitas to the role of William Cooper, the CIA agent given the task of "retiring" the old crew. His scenes opposite Willis are incredible with a fight scene in Langley destined to be on MTV's movie awards for just such a thing. Ernest Borgnine at 93 is still a spry thing and its really good to see him in a movie again. The locales are widespread but hardly exotic, which is part of the film's charm of going to places like Mobile, Alabama and Kansas City. Hardly typical but much needed in a day of local overkill (Day and Night I'm looking at you). Easily the best spy thriller/comedy of the year, easily beating the far inferior Killers or Day and Knight. The oddest surprise comes form director Robert Schwentke whose previous films have been the terrible Flightplan and the Time Traveler's Wife. I don't know what he did right this time but keep it up. These are the kinds of films you should be doing. A must see for action lovers. You won't be sorry
4 and 1/2 stars out of 5