Review: The Equalizer

TheEqualizer Apparently the older you get, the more bad ass you become. At least that's what Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson are trying to prove. Between the two of them they've laid to waste countless numbers of dead bodies in the last 4 - 5 years of their careers. The body count doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon if Washington's new movie, The Equalizer, has anything to do with it. In his latest outing, Washington plays Robert McCall (maybe). An older gentleman who works at the local hardware store, has trouble sleeping at night and times everything he does with his trusty stop watch. A few of his co-workers are dying to find out what he did in the past but they just can't figure it out. When he's not at work, he's reading a book at the all night cafe talking to a woman of the night Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) and sipping some fire ass tea. One night his routine is interrupted when he sees his new found friend get tossed around a bit by some Russian dudes. After he visits her in the hospital and sees the aftermath of a particularly rough encounter, he's none to pleased. McCall is brought out of retirement to do what he does best.

Look, by now we all know that Washington is incredibly charming on screen and he does not disappoint at all in this roll. Granted he's Denzel playing Denzel but at this point in his career does he really need to do anything else? Needless to say, he pays the guys who did his friend wrong a visit, and proceeds to dispatch of them with the greatest of ease. Once he's gotten the first taste of blood he's had in what we can only speculate has been many years his mind is telling him no but his body is telling him yes; he's the conflicted hero. As much as he doesn't want to do it, he realizes that he can't help what he is. Meanwhile, the Russian mob gets wind of what has happened and send their number one cleanup guy Teddy (Marton Csokas). This guy is awesome and is an absolute perfect foil for Washington. One scene in particular had me clenching the arm of my seat. I honestly didn't know what was going to happen. He is easily one of the best villains I've seen on film in a long time. I call him the Russian Frank Underwood not only because he delivers his lines so perfectly but he also kind of looks like Kevin Spacey. Once he hits the scene, the movie becomes a game of cat and mouse. When he and Washington are on screen together, the tension goes through the roof and you really wish there was more of it.

The action sequences are highly entertaining. I mean it's Denzel Washington beating people up in very inventive ways. Who doesn't love that? Slow mo instances show that Washington turns into The Terminator when he gets into his zone. While others instances are there just to further his walk away from explosions legacy. The plot is nothing new and it delivers the same tropes that you've seen in the last 20 years of action cinema. However, there's just something about it that just clicks. Whether it's the fact that Denzel is just so damn good or the writing is solid especially for this type of movie or Antoine Fuqua, (who also directed Training Day) knows how to frame a shot, or Csokas is such a good villain. He really needs to be in more movies! It all just comes together to deliver a highly entertaining, slick slow burn action film that has an an incredibly ridiculous yet super satisfying ending that turns Washington's McCall into Jigsaw. It is far from perfect with some dead air in the middle but I really enjoyed this movie. Ain't nobody getting an Oscar for this one but if you like Denezel Washington just go see it.

[easyreview title= "Review of The Equalizer" cat1title="Terrence's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.5" overall= false]

Review: Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass 2 Kick-Ass 2: Kick Ass Harder? No, not really. It’s pretty much more of the same which is pretty great in my eyes. Let me say up front that I haven’t read the sequel comic… yet. Kick-Ass is a superhero in case you haven’t heard. He was the first real life superhero to go public and he inspired many more to don costumes and prowl the streets in search of criminals to pummel. That’s where we are when this movie opens only Kick-Ass himself put up the tights… but he still hears the calling and soon enough he’s back out in the wild and soon enough he’s getting the crap kicked out of him all over again.

This would be the one glaring negative point I have with this film. This guy seems to have learned nothing after the events of the first film. He’s still as ineffectual as ever and it feels really wrong. To fix this he pretty much begs Hit-Girl, the prepubescent sidekick of the late Big Daddy from the first film, to train him. Through these two interaction we hit the theme, which is about people coming into their own and becoming the person they are meant to be. Kick-Ass learns to become a better hero, Hit-Girl learns that there is a bit more to life than beating up criminals and… well the villain learns that he is indeed a villain. He learns to be… the MotherFucker.

That theme helps keep the film from going down the super dark road I’ve heard the comic goes down. Kick-Ass 2 never takes itself too seriously and makes sure you have fun watching the madness play out no matter how violent. And yes, this film is SUPER violent and in some cases goes further than the comics and in other cases thankfully pulls back. There is a famous scene from the comic even I’ve heard about, a rape scene. I will tell you upfront there is no rape in this film. It would have severely shifted the tone and the scene is artfully written out in a very clever way that allows the villains to remain who they are without getting too depraved. I won’t spoil the scene but I will say it should put a smile on your face.

The star of this show isn’t Kick-Ass. Fan favorite Hit-Girl comes to the forefront of this cast with the stellar Chloe Moretz. She was a scene stealer in the first film and she is the star here with a large portion of the movie delving into how Hit-Girl slowly finds that there is indeed more to being a young girl, whether she wants to or not. I have yet to be disappointed in a performance by Moretz as she has some very matured acting chops and it’s a joy to watch her just be awesome with every line she delivers. Of course it helps that she utterly destroys everyone in her path.

The rest of the cast delivers as well. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is a very tongue in cheek villain as the Mother Fucker, John Leguizamo pops up as his assistant and is just as great as ever, Donald Faison, a favorite of mine, is hilarious as always and a huge cast full of costumed nuts that never ceases to understand.

This movie kept me smiling from start to finish. Smart humor as well as crude humor, extreme action, a small girl kick the shit out of everyone in her way and a scene stealing Jim Carrey with a dog that likes to… “fetch” balls. If you liked the first you’ll love the second. Don’t hesitate, get out there and kick ass with Kick-Ass 2.

[easyreview title= "Review of Kick-Ass 2" cat1title="Cheetimus's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.0" overall= false]