There’s no chance of any awards other than “people’s choice for entertainingly senseless violence” as Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington (who earned an Oscar for Training Day) reunite for a reboot of the staggeringly-subtle-by-comparison 80s TV show.
Washington is regular-as-clockwork schmo Robert McCall, holding down a day job in a home supplies store, spending his evenings reading classic literature in the local diner, obsessively stop-watching his humdrum life – until helpless streetwalker Teri shows up with bruises on her face, and the little hand says: “It’s time to go kill some people!” Next thing, Robert is knee-deep in Russian mobsters and corrupt cops, slicing throats, corkscrewing heads and generally “equalising” the balance in favour of the poor and needy.
At one point, Fuqua seems to be setting the stage for a dockyard showdown – a disappointingly generic choice. Ten seconds later, Washington blows the dock up (cue massive explosion from which cool lead walks away in slo-mo) and heads back to the hardware store where old-school vengeance awaits, replete with nostalgic nailguns and video nasty power drills.
Everything else is equally backward looking, from the Death Wish vigilantism to Marton Csokas’s camped-up tattooed nemesis. It’s utter balderdash that could lose at least 30 minutes from its bloated running time, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the DIY violence struck a neanderthal nerve. Heaven knows what Edward Woodward would have made of it, but personally I’ll take this over A Walk Among the Tombstones any day.
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