When I grow old, I want to be as kick ass as the characters in the Red movies.
If you haven’t seen Red or Red2, here’s the gist: A group of retired government intelligence operatives must use their skills and experience to survive when they are targeted by the government. “RED” stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous.
The main cast is Bruce Willis as Frank and John Malkovich as Marvin, both former CIA black-ops agents, Helen Mirren as Victoria, a former assassin, Brian Cox as Ivan, ex-Russian secret agent and Mary-Louise Parker as Sarah, Frank’s much younger love-interest with no spy experience whatsoever. The films also include Morgan Freeman, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfuss, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and David Thewlis. What amazing actors, right? That’s half the interest factor for me.
I was never in the CIA or MI6 much less the army, so, sadly, I don’t know the first thing about explosives, international espionage, how to fake my own death or exchange gunfire while chasing down bad guys in a Lotus sports car. These movies have a lot of that, it’s true, and I do enjoy a shoot-em-up once in a while.
But that’s not the kind of kick ass I mean, though I love watching Helen Mirren, dressed in an evening gown, calmly pull out her weapons and blow away the bad guys.
They may be a bit rusty, but these vets of the Cold War have capabilities that those half their ages should envy:
Abilities tempered by experience. In both films, Marvin is convinced someone’s trying to kill them. Everyone thinks he’s just paranoid, except, his observational skills prove he’s right. Every time. Also In both films, Frank plays cat and mouse games with much younger operatives ordered to kill him. Guess how they turn out?
Yeah, the young may be stronger and have quicker reflexes. So what. When you’re older, you have skills honed over many years and lots of practice. You’ve already made the bone-headed mistakes, and learned better. You know shortcuts never work. Or, at least, not the way that’s expected. You just shake your head in pity at the exciteable young who try to prove they know everything.
Looks are deceiving. The government thought these old guys would be easy to eliminate. Every time operatives get close enough to gleefully call them “Grandpa” or “old man” and line them up in their sites, these senior citizens teach them a lesson, usually a permanent one.
Everyone figures once you hit a certain age, you’re ready for the nursing home and a rocker. But not if you keep on your game — exercise, eat right, and keep up with improvements in your field of expertise or even jump into a new field. I imagine it’s quite satisfying to surprise some arrogant little bastard who thinks he’s gonna show the old folks how it’s done.
Laugh at life’s absurdities. From Marvin’s bizarre disguises to Sarah’s cringe-worthy attempts to “help” the pros to the elaborate ruses to catch the bad guys, the Red characters find themselves in plenty of absurd circumstances.
We obviously don’t like it when we do something stupid and look like fools, but we need to laugh at ourselves once in a while. Because life is absurd. If we don’t want to see the humor or laugh at the ridiculousness, we just get depressed. That, my friends, is a sure way to age faster.
Take time to enjoy life. Frank’s main attraction to Sarah is the exciting life he (unexpectedly) leads that she desperately wants to be part of. And while all hell breaks loose around them, Victoria and Ivan flirt outrageously. The pros all miss the excitement of their former lives and relish the chance to use their skills again.
Why waste our lives on jobs we hate, toxic people, and other things that are sucking the life out of us? I’m not advocating giving up all responsibility, but for carving out a little time for something that feeds your soul and gives you a bit of happiness. And sex definitely doesn’t stop at a certain age. Just sayin’.
I truly think it’s all in how we see ourselves. If we think and believe we are frazzled, mindless pawns of our bosses, family, and society, feel ancient, and act it – well, then that’s all we’ll ever be. If we believe we’re capable of taking control of our lives and bodies and actually take the steps to constantly learn something new and become better versions of ourselves – then there’s nothing stopping us from ROCKING later life.
What do the words “aging” or “old age” mean to you? Do they scare you? Do you look forward to that time? Or are they simply outdated, meaningless words? What say you?