‘But… I think you’re not here for the vodka’ — says Brian Cox as Ivan Simanov, a cold war relic commiserating over what he surely considers to be the good old days with Bruce Willis’ Frank Moses, proving yet again that sometimes your best friends are indeed your (former) enemies.

I was introduced to Warren Ellis largely thanks to the other Warren Ellis: that would be the Australian musician, who in turn led me to the English writer. If there is a third Warren Ellis somewhere chances are (at least statistically speaking) that I will like his work too. I had read the first few issues of Transmetropolitan a few years back, and am now working through more of the latter Mr. Ellis’ repertoire.

RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) had guilty pleasure written all over it: I knew I was likely going to love it based on casting alone. Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a retired super-secret-black-ops-ninja-superman spook who really isn’t completely on board with this whole retirement concept. When a band of unlucky assassins tries to end his retirement one night, he proceeds to dispose of them and then goes about rescuing his love interest (Mary Louise Parker) and getting the band back together. The band in this case is made up of  Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren each playing a wonderfully over-the-top retired super-spook, with Mr. Cox rounding out the troupe as the lovable frenemy. Their repartee is as explosive as the special effects and rather large assortment of machine/automatic weapons they wield. Karl Urban and Richard Dreyfuss round out the rest of the cast as an honorable CIA agent and main baddy respectively.

The whole movie oozes fun and I was laughing pretty much from the DVD piracy warnings all throughout the end credits. Yet, amongst all the campiness, it manages to pull off being genuinely entertaining and steers clear from the ‘oh, come on, that was not necessary!’ moments that seem to be so common in lesser action films.

If ever I wanted to ask a studio to make a prequel, a sequel or both, it would be for RED.