An open secret

RED
Starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman,
Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss,
Directed by Robert Schwentke

TOP SECRET
 
CODE NAME: RED

 
This file is about a film of a bunch of elderly, expert former CIA operatives

And their bumbling enemies/opponents
 


WARNING:
The contents of this file may seem exceedingly familiar to movie patrons who have seen hundreds of superherosecretagent-thriller-espionage-action files
 
[REDACTION NOTE: Although this TOP SECRET file is accessible to those with high security clearances, previous readers have redacted some SUPER-DUPER TOP SECRET information as only those with 501(c)(4-6) clearances may have access to that information.]
 

Helen Mirren in Red

CROSS-REFERENCES: It is recommended when reviewing this file that the reader also consult the recent files CODE NAME: SALT, CODE NAME: KNIGHT AND DAY, CODE NAME: EDGE OF DARKNESS, and CODE NAME: *********************** as they contain many similar elements contained in this file (e.g. the presence of a HANGER-ON, the similarities with THE EVIL ORGANIZATION; the confrontations with CREEPY POLITICIANS; and the ineptitude of THE GOONS).
 
THE MISSION: CODE NAME: RED is an entertaining lark about secret agents and killers attempting to uncover the details of a plot to kill former secret agents and killers while being pursued by secret agents and killers who are out to kill and double-cross secret agents and killers. This mission was funded by *********************** whose objectives are to ***********************.
 
THE HEROES: A rag-tag group of retired **** operatives who have laid down their arms and are trying to infiltrate society as regular people doing regular things. Of course, their regular/normal lives are much more scary, dangerous, complex and mysterious than their lives as secret agents and killers. So, as soon as they are needed to come out of retirement, they are more than ready to spring back into action with their skills completely intact as if they have never missed a beat. They are as adept as ever, even as technology and techniques may have evolved and progressed since the time they were trying to outsmart bad guys back in their day. 
 
LEAD AGENT: A bad-ass single male who lives alone and has trouble fitting in to suburban domestic life. He is forced out of retirement when he is targeted for termination by nefarious agents and bad guys. For this mission, the LEAD AGENT is *****************.    
ACCOMPLICE #1: A super paranoid individual who distrusts everything and everyone — usually with good reason — who helps the LEAD AGENT; usually a male who joined the LEAD AGENT on many missions and is also single and very knowledgeable with weaponry, gadgets and information retrieval. You know this ACCOMPLICE as *************************************.
ACCOMPLICE #2: A long-time chum of the LEAD AGENT who is folksy and very astute regarding human nature and how to ingratiate his way into and out of tight situations. You may have seen this ACCOMPLICE in CODE NAME: LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN along with LEAD AGENT ************************************************.
ACCOMPLICE #3: An unassuming, sweet, and good-natured individual — usually an elderly woman — who you would not suspect to be a vicious assassin; she is an expert with firearms and coldly calm under fire. This ACCOMPLICE has also been known as CODE NAME: BRITISH ROYALTY, a/k/a ********************************.
 
THE GOONS: Inept bad guys who are fodder to be dispatched by THE HEROES. 
 
CODE NAME: THE TALKING KILLER GOON: This unfortunate individual has one of THE HEROES in his gun sights, but delays pulling the trigger so that he can be dispatched by one of THE HEROES. You can find this operative in a number of settings throughout this file.
CODE NAME: THE BUMBLING GOON: This hapless character has clearly not spent enough time at the shooting range as he cannot seem to hit his target; meanwhile, THE HEROES never seem to miss — or miss only when it is opportune for them to do so.
CODE NAME: THE OUT-OF-STEP GOON: This fellow is always trying to play catch-up to the cleverness and astute anticipation of THE HEROES, who are always two or three steps ahead of THE GOONS.
 
THE HANGER-ON: This mission (like many others, see, e.g., CODE NAME: KNIGHT AND DAY) comes complete with an average, unsuspecting person who falls in with THE HEROES and gets caught up in the frenetic action and intrigue. This person is typically a woman who is freaked out, is the romantic interest of ************************, but then gets used to the frenzied action and murder and mayhem crashing all around her. THE HANGER-ON even eventually plays a critical role to help THE HEROES in a pinch — and does so like a pro. For this mission, she is known as ************************************.
 
THE OPERATIVES: THE GOONS are the agents of these mysterious players who reside in the background. THE OPERATIVES have all sorts of resources at their disposal and secretly follow the goings on of THE HEROES and THE GOONS. They seem to have the inside scoop and are usually played by higher-ups, paper-pushers, and superiors. Of course, for this mission, THE OPERATIVES exist in the ***** and are controlled by ******************************************.

THE EVIL ORGANIZATION: The following should be considered SUPER-DUPER TOP SECRET: for the purposes of this mission, the ************************************ is the “bad guy” — or, more accurately, some of the higher-ups at the **** are seen abusing their power and are in cahoots with people who are thirsty for money and power. 
 
THE INFILTRATION AND ESCAPE: The mission usually involves THE HEROES needing to infiltrate THE EVIL ORGANIZATION to secure critical information and then find a way to escape the seemingly impenetrable facility with their lives and information. These are usually thrilling but completely preposterous side jobs (see, e.g., CODE NAME: SALT). THE HEROES usually employ the use of cleaning liquids to create explosive or flammable diversions that allow them to escape — even though there are plenty of cameras, security systems, security personnel, locked doors, checkpoints, etc.  
 
THE INFORMATIONAL TARGET: No mission like this would be complete without the presence of a character who divulges critical information to THE HEROES before being dispatched by THE GOONS of THE OPERATIVES. The dispatching usually occurs in the presence of THE HEROES as the essential information is being divulged, but none of THE HEROES are ever eliminated at the same time. It is exceedingly convenient that THE INFORMATIONAL TARGET is taken out only after providing the essential information, and in a location where THE HEROES must escape after THE INFORMATIONAL TARGET meets his or her demise. THE INFORMATIONAL TARGET’s name is ************************************ who tells THE HEROES that ***************************** *********** ************* ************************* ********** ********************.

THE CREEPY POLITICIAN: This mission, like many others like it, comes complete with a CREEPY POLITICIAN — a person who is power mad and is susceptible to the schemes and assistance of THE PUPPETMASTER. THE CREEPY POLITICIAN is at just a high enough level that he or she has THE EVIL ORGANIZATION at his or her disposal to thwart and otherwise complicate the mission of THE HEROES. And, the identity of THE CREEPY POLITICIAN is none other than ************************************, who is seeking election to ************************************************.
 
THE PUPPETMASTER: This is the person who secretly sets everything in motion. He or she usually has some twisted reason or egomaniacal need to accomplish some selfish goal that requires him or her to activate THE OPERATIVES to hire THE GOONS to go after THE HEROES. THE EVIL ORGANIZATION and THE CREEPY POLITICIAN are also performing their roles in the service of the THE PUPPETMASTER. Discovering THE PUPPETMASTER’s identity and uncovering his or her scheme is the principal objective of THE HEROES. In the case of CODE NAME: RED, THE PUPPETMASTER is none other than ************************ whose scheme is to ************************************************ not unlike the ************************************************ who are funders for TEA PARTY CANDIDATES ************************************************ and *********************************.
 
The reader of this TOP SECRET file is not allowed to divulge any other contents of this file until the next mission unfolds at a TOP SECRET theater near you, in which case the contents of this file and other similar files may again seem suspiciously familiar — which is to say that when it comes to superherosecretagent-thriller-espionage-action films, not much can be kept ************************.
 
Doug Young is our superherofilmcritic at The Statesman.