Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, David Denman, Eugenio Mastrandrea, Gaia Scodellaro, Remo Grione, Andrea Scarduzio, Andrea Dodero
Where: In theatres near you
This vigilante action film is the final chapter of the trilogy, which is loosely based on the 1980s television series of the same name.
It is a typical exploitative grindhouse fare about a former U.S. Marine and Defence Intelligence Agency agent, Robert McCall (Denzil Washington), playing a lone ranger who delivers justice to innocent, abused, defenceless, and oppressed people, basically "good people," who are being victimized by criminals.
Set in a picturesque, postcard-quality seaside town called Altomonte, the film begins with a car driving through a remote vineyard in Sicily, Italy. The camera follows a man as he walks through the winery strewn with bodies that bear the brunt of choppers and bullet wounds, and soon, the man comes face to face with McCall.
The perplexed man asks McCall, "Why have you come?"
McCall replies, "You took something that didn’t belong to you. I came to take it back." (Unfortunately, this MacGuffin- is poorly exploited.)
The man challenges him. McCall allows him nine seconds to decide his fate, and obviously, after a sleek action sequence, he walks off with what he had come for. But before leaving the premises, he is shot by a young boy who had accompanied the bad man to the vineyard.
This was the prologue that set the tone of the film. The pacing and structure of the plot unravel like a character-driven story—slow, intense, and introspective—with a significant focus on inner thoughts and emotions. You are drawn into McCall’s life as he happily settles into this idyllic town after gaining strength.
His happiness is short-lived when he notices the entire town is being terrorized by a gang of drug mafia thugs. Dealing with them is his calling. This is evident when he admits to Vincent Quartana (Andrea Scarduzio), the Camorra boss, "The Lord knows I’m allergic to bad things."
The narrative holds forte because of Washington’s charisma. Despite having a slow, wobbly gait, he essays the conflicted relationship of his character to violence with natural and deadpan ease. And when he occasionally smiles, he unleashes his megawatt movie star smile that melts your heart.
He is aptly supported by Eugenio Mastrandrea as the police officer, Gaia Scodellaro as the barista Aminah, Remo Girone as Doctor Enzo Arisio, Dakota Fannings as the CIA rookie Emma Collins, and Andrea Dodero as Vincent’s younger brother Marco. They all leave their mark on the screen and add flavour and gravitas to the narrative.
Visually, Fuqua and cinematographer Robert Richardson have creatively designed the film, especially in showing the wanton gore, which is captured in tight close-ups.
Marcelo Zarvos’s riveting background score elevates the viewing experience.
Overall, despite keeping you hooked for nearly one hour and forty-five minutes, the narrative lacks any nail-biting or toe-curling moments.