The Equalizer 2
Denzel Reprises Role for First Time as Retired Spy-Turned-Vigilante in Grisly Revenge Thriller
Although Denzel Washington has made about four dozen movies over the course of his legendary career, he’s never reprised a role until now. In The Equalizer 2, the two-time Oscar-winner (for Glory and Training Day) returns to play Robert McCall again, a retired CIA agent who turns vigilante to dole out street justice on behalf of the downtrodden.
At the sequel’s point of departure, we find McCall undercover as a Muslim on a train bound for Turkey. He’s successfully concluding an international Amber Alert operation on behalf of a young girl kidnapped by her father.
The setting soon shifts to Boston, where McCall works nights as a Lyft cab driver. An encounter with a mugger proves humorous when he beats the perp to a bloody pulp before insisting that the creep give him a five-star rating before exiting the taxi.
The storyline sobers considerably, however, when McCall’s close friend and former colleague, Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo), is murdered under mysterious circumstances. He eventually figures out that the hit was performed by a cell of rogue CIA agents, and vows to track down and exact vengeance on “each and every one of them.”
What ensues is a gruesome splatterfest designed to satiate the bloodlust of fans of the revenge genre. Director Antoine Fuqua does not disappoint in this regard, for Equalizer 2 ups the ante on the original in terms of both body count and gratuitous gore.
Denzel again delivers as a relentless killing machine eager to execute any evildoers dumb enough to cross his path!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, drug use and pervasive graphic violence
In English and Turkish with subtitles
Running time: 121 minutes
Production Studios: Fuqua Films / Columbia Pictures / Escape Artists / Mace Neufeld Productions / Lonetree Entertainment / Sony Pictures Entertainment
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
Count Dracula Falls for Cruise Ship Captain with Hidden Agenda in Latest Episode of Animated Franchise
The first two installments of this popular animated franchise were set at a hotel dedicated to creating a safe space for monsters to unwind. But what about when the resort owners themselves need a break?
That’s the question posed at the outset of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, an entertaining animated adventure revolving around proprietor Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and company’s getaway on a luxury cruise for ghouls. At the point of departure, we find Drac’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) making reservations for the family aboard the Legacy, a boat headed for the infamous Bermuda Triangle in search of the mythical island of Atlantis.
En route, however, the plot thickens when the widowed Count finds himself being charmed by the ship’s seductive captain (Kathryn Hahn). What Drac doesn’t know is that Ericka is the great-granddaughter of his archenemy, the legendary monster hunter, Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan).
In fact, he’s already under her spell by the time Mavis and her hubby (Andy Samberg) finally figure out that the attractive captain’s up to no good. Can the hopelessly-smitten Count be saved from the temptress’ plan to spike his guacamole with garlic oil? Or might her mind be changed about the need to subdue the reformed, blood-sucking vampire.
Thus unfolds HT3, a kid-friendly comedy directed by Genndy Tartakovsky who also helmed HT1 and HT2. The principal cast members all reprise their roles, including Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Mel Brooks, Fran Drescher, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon and David Spade.
While the humor-driven cartoon is laced with lots of side-splitting slapstick and sight gags that are fun for the whole family, what really makes this blockbuster morality play memorable is its timely universal message about tolerance. Hey, it’s okay to be different, and please pass the popcorn!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for action and rude humor
Running time: 97 minutes
Production Studios: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Animation / Media Rights Capital
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening July 20, 2018
Blindspotting (R for sexual references, drug use, brutal violence and pervasive profanity) Buddy dramedy set in a rapidly-gentrifying, San Francisco Bay Area where a couple of lifelong BFFs’, one black (Daveed Diggs), one white (Rafael Casal), friendship is tested after the former sees a Caucasian cop (Ethan Embry) gun down an unarmed African-American on the street. Cast includes Nyambi Nyambi, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Wayne Knight.
The Equalizer 2 (R for profanity, drug use and pervasive graphic violence) Denzel Washington reprises the title role in this revenge thriller as a retired CIA Agent-turned-vigilante tracking down the rogue spies responsible for a colleague’s (Melissa Leo) murder. With Bill Pulman, Pedro Pascal and Orson Bean.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (PG-13 for suggestive material) Long-awaited sequel, set five years after the events of the original and inspired by the jukebox musical featuring the songs of ABBA, finds a pregnant Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) on the Greek isle of Kalokairi where she’s forced to take risks like her mother (Meryl Streep) did around the same age. With Lily James, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Cher.
Unfriended: Dark Web (R for profanity, sexual references and disturbing violence) Stand-alone horror sequel revolving around a young man (Colin Woodell) terrorized online by the mysterious owner of a laptop he took from a lost-and-found. Rebecca Rittenhouse, Betty Gabriel, Chelsea Alden and Andrew Lees.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN
Damascus Cover (R for profanity and violence) Espionage thriller, based on Howard Kaplan’s best seller of the same name, about an Israeli spy (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) sent on a dangerous mission to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist and his family out of Syria. With Olivia Thirlby, Jurgen Prochnow and the late John Hurt.
Generation Wealth (R for nudity, graphic sexuality, disturbing images and drug use) Spoiled rotten documentary indicting the children of the rich and famous for their unchecked greed, materialism and conspicuous consumption. Featuring Limo Bob, Florian Homm and Tiffany Masters.
McQueen (R for nudity and profanity) Reverential retrospective chronicling the rise and untimely demise of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969-2010), a revealing rags-to-riches story recounted by his close friends and relatives.
The Rise of Eve (Unrated) Feminist documentary chronicling the oppression of women around the world over the ages, touching on issues ranging from sexual harassment to misogyny in music to honor killings.
Teefa in Trouble (Unrated) Ali Zafar plays the title character in this romantic comedy as a mob enforcer who travels from Pakistan to Poland to kidnap a crime boss’ (Javed Sheikh) daughter (Maya Ali) for another gangster (Mehmood Aslam) only to fall head-over-heels in love with her. With Nayyar Ejaz, Asma Abbas and Tom Coulston. (In Urdu with subtitles.)
The Third Murder (Unrated) Courtroom drama revolving around a prominent lawyer’s (Masaharu Fukuyama) defense of a convicted murderer (Koji Yakusho) accused of another homicide. Cast includes Suzu Hirose, Mikako Ichikawa and Izumi Matsuoka. (In Japanese with subtitles.)