Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, and Ashton Sanders
Runtime: 2hr. and 1 min.
With the plethora of superhero action movies that grace the silver screen every year, it is nice to see an old school action movie. Movies that consist of martial arts greats like Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris; or other iconic action stars like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, and Jolie. A hero that does not wear a cape or dons a mask in a tight-fitting suit (usually made of spandex). He or she does not have any special powers or unworldly abilities. They fight for the less fortunate unapologetic in the manner in which justice is served (i.e. by any means necessary). And as Denzel Washing proclaimed in the Equalizer 2, “I am going to kill each and every one of you and the only disappointment is that I only get to do it once”. Oh Yeah! And you better get your popcorn ready.
Denzel Washington reprises his role as retired CIA black ops operative Robert McCall, serving justice for the exploited and oppressed. But now, recent events hit much closure to home when a loved one is killed. How far will he go to seek and serve justice, and will this put other people in his life in harm’s way?
Denzel does not do sequels. We have all seen the commercials.
But maybe he should rethink this idea or perhaps play more roles like this because he is outstanding. The two-time Oscar winner brings a believability and authenticity to this character that has audiences rooting for him when he brings justice to the unjust in a violent and sometimes hideous manner. Quietly whispering to themselves, “Yeah they got just what they deserved.” But violence is not his sole Modus operandi. He is a mentor to a high schooler with an artistic talent who is submerged in the violent life of drugs after the death of his brother played by Ashton Sanders. McCall leans on him hard to become a better person and rise above his environment. In an intense scene, Washington goes to a drug den to get Sanders and questions him about death. In your face conversation with spit flying, bad breath, and all. It is reminiscent of the Joe Carter roof scene in Lean on Me.
The action is immediate and to the point. Like that of the first film, the action sequences are not drawn out like that of the Marvel universe or old Kung Fu movies (not objecting by the way). They are precise, bone-crushing, finger breaking, and a serious dedication to get the job done in a quick and efficient manner. McCall (Washington), not a martial artist in any manner and does not look intimidating in any fashion but combat trained. I would have to give him a five-star rating like that of his Lyft rating after a successful, shall we say, customer satisfaction interaction.
The plot is simplistic. It takes all of five minutes to figure out who is who and the intrinsic details of the storyline. But, it tells a great story. The showdown at the end is a bit melodramatic and Hollywoodish. It is like that of an old western when the villain finally meets the hero in a showdown in a town that was abandoned. The wind and dust are blowing as a tumbleweed comes across the screen. Well, not quite that stereotypical, but it could have done more with less. Mr. Washington, I know you do not do sequels, but what about prequels? Man on Fire prequel might just be your next hit.; just saying.