Bruce Willis stars as retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses, whose old life comes back to haunt him when he’s forced to tackle a hit squad in his house and go on the run with Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), the pension office customer service agent he fancies on the phone. Then Frank re-assembles his old black-ops team – Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren – to (1) stay alive, (2) protect and woo Sarah, (3) find out who wants to kill him and why and (4) evade murderously dogged CIA agent Cooper (Karl Urban).

Though the script could be cleverer and wittier, and there are lame and derivative scenes that drag it down, this movie, based on a comic book, gets away with it all by being constantly funny and packed with non-stop action, huge explosions and hectic mayhem – all eye-catchingly staged.

Even so, it still would be ordinary but for its cast of oldies who turn over-acting into the true art form it undoubtedly can be. Smirking for America, Willis proves he still has it; bringing warmth, Parker is a perfect and credible foil; Urban adds youth and knockout kickass; Mirren and Malkovich stir in crazy comedy that really works, with both also getting effectively into the thick of it (yes, Mirren shoots a machine gun!); and there’s even space for old Ernest Borgnine.