THE EQUALIZER 3 (MA15+)
Director: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Andrea Scarduzio, Andrea Dodero, Dakota Fanning.
Rating : ***
The last word on getting mad and getting even
Now that we’ve reached the third instalment of The Equalizer, it is high time we took a step back and examined the decidedly bonkers career trajectory of its enigmatic protagonist, Mr Robert McCall.
Back in the first movie, McCall (played by the great Denzel Washington) was putting in a full working week at a Bunnings-type establishment, then spending all of his spare time putting bruises on (or bullets and blades in) bad guys.
The dude didn’t seem to sleep, and had seemingly arrived at the perfect economic formula as to how to cause the maximum culling of crooks on a minimum wage.
As for The Equalizer 2, old Bob was now in his mid-60s, and working nights for an Uber-type rideshare app. His sleep regimen was still shot to bits, and so were any lawless losers that happened to get on his nerves.
(This was also the movie where our hero wins the equivalent of a 15-round fist fight staged inside a Category 5 hurricane.)
Now we come to The Equalizer 3, and Mr McCall is suddenly shooting first and asking questions later in a sun-drenched, bloodstained village on Italy’s glorious Amalfi coast.
With no Bunnings or Uber gigs available to an American man of such an advanced age, Robert makes it his business to get up the noses and in the faces of the local Mafioso.
It is not long before our hero is butting heads with the two biggest, baddest Camorra-affiliated hoods in the region: the quarrelsome Quaranta brothers, Marco (Andrea Scarduzio) and Marco (Andrea Dodero).
Like the blokes in black hats in a western, the Quarantas keep riding into town demanding pay-offs for this, and threatening paybacks for that.
In his cool, and charismatically centred way, Robert McCall sizes up the magnitude of his wrongdoing foes, and methodically proceeds to give them what they rightly deserve.
Just like its predecessors, The Equalizer 3 would be laughed right off the screen if it was not for the enduring credibility – and strangely poignant grace notes – that Washington lends to the pulpy proceedings.
You may not believe a single thing that the calmly cantankerous Robert McCall gets up to, but you will feel every shred of indignation and empathy that has fuelled his renegade crusade for justice.
Even though this looks as it will be the last of The Equalizers we will see for the time being, it is clearly the best of them.
The Equalizer 3 is now showing in general release
THEATER CAMP (M)
Mmmm. It is hard to make a definitive call on Theater Camp, largely because this intermittently clever and funny mockumentary does very little wrong across its slender running time. However, this snapshot of a summer spent at a woodlands camp for aspiring stage stars lacks a certain warmth that prevents it from truly connecting with the wider audience its inviting premise deserves. To put it simply, too many of the inside jokes told here are just too ‘inside’ for their own good. If you don’t know your Broadway, or can’t delineate between the collected works of Streisand and Sondheim, then many of the gags (as true and on-point as they are) will whoosh by in a confusing blur.
Even if you have done every season of Glee and High School Musical, Theater Camp will still have you wondering when, where and why you should be laughing at key comedic flashpoints throughout. The movie does suddenly make glorious and infectious sense in its final act, when the student body goes above and beyond to mount a very amusing show that may just save the camp from shutting down. If you’re curious in any way, it is no crime to wait for this one to hit streaming in a few months’ time.
THE NUN 2 (M)
Been praying for another supernatural slap-down between the winsome Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) and the demented demon nun known as Valak? Then you’ve come to the right place. The Nun 2 does a freakily effective job of making a little go a long way, building a moody, broody atmosphere of blasphemous menace within a French girls’ boarding school before getting to the Irene-Valak rematch we’ve all been waiting for.
While the acting here is slightly dodgy and the writing even more so, director Michael Chaves has some nifty tricks up his sleeve when it comes to holding a viewer’s attention and then manipulating that viewer with clinical precision. Valak’s signature move – levitating a victim and then air-frying them with one hellishly hot stare – is used sparingly, but powerfully. Equally chilling is Valak’s startling way with making sudden entrances from the most unlikely places. Co-stars Anna Popplewell, Jonas Bloquet.
Originally published as Denzel Washington’s cool and charismatic McCall takes on Mafioso in best of Equalizer franchise