IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 122 mins
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
Former Marine and Defense Intelligence Agency spy Robert McCall still assists the less fortunate, now aided by his friend Susan Plummer, but his other job has become that of a taxi driver. After retrieving a local bookstore owner’s daughter who was kidnapped by her father, McCall is probably hoping for a bit of peace, but then somebody murders an agent and his wife in Brussels and makes it look like the agent did the killing then killed himself. Susan investigates and is herself murdered, so McCall sets out to find the people who did and find out why….
There isn’t really time for me to give this a full length review of this as it’s a busy week for me outside of HCF and I’m trying to finish some reviews I started ages ago, though I think I gave the original a short review too back in the day when I had the time and felt obliged to review nearly every film I saw at the cinema. Even if the movies were poor, I’d still have a grudging admiration for a non-horror franchise which goes against the current ‘PG-13’ obsession and proudly remains ‘R’ rated, though as with the first film the UK distributors have decided that an ’18’ rating is similarly limiting at the box office and cut some graphic shots out to get a ’15’. Still, the punishment [I’m not sure I’d always call it “equalising”] that Robert McCall dishes out with his fists and anything he can lay his hands on from a teapot to a credit card remains gleefully brutal and even downright excessive. This sequel is basically on the same level as the first one, better in some respects, inferior in others but overall a good watch that keeps things fairly grounded and doesn’t feel the need to throw CGI at the viewer. There’s more action scenes including a vivid climactic gunfight set in the midst of a hurricane, though the main plot is average – even a crap a detective as me was able to spot who the chief bad guy is within seconds of him appearing on screen, and he barely seems to have a motivation.
Director Antoine Fuqua holds back on the irritating ‘shakycam’ and even gives us some steadicam work, though as with before, his film’s a bit overlong, with some rather redundant scenes like McCall taking his time working out what happened at a crime scene even though we’ve already seen what actually took place. McCall’s many moments with two of his neighbours: Sam Rubinstein an elderly Holocaust survivor who’s looking for a painting of his sister, and Miles Whittaker a young black boy with a troubled background – are generally well handled though and emphasise the character’s kindly side, and there’s one scene where he has a go at Miles for hanging around with some gangsters which could contain some of the best acting Denzel Washington has done. As usual, his performance is never less then note perfect, even making you believe that he’s able to dispatch a bad guy with one hand while his other hand is driving a car down busy streets. Some questions are still not answered about the character, from what really happened with his marriage to why he times himself fighting, but then I guess the makers are hoping there’ll be a desire for a third film. Despite mostly poor reviews box office seems to be good, so let’s have it please – though hopefully sooner then in four years time.