When this movie came out, it looked quite promising. Denzel Washington and action seem to go hand in hand, which is strange since Washington is nothing like the run of the mill action star. The man has been nominated for six Academy Awards with a wide range of performances and he is convincing in each and every one. Now, I knew getting into this that it wouldn’t be an Oscar worthy film, but it sounded promising. So to sum things up, I was quite excited when this came in the mail the other day.
The film starts slowly, showing Washington and his relationships with his co-worker and a young girl prostitute. These part set Washington apart from the average action star as he’s able to convince the viewer that he truly cares for the people around him, which makes his jump to action seem reasonable. Once the movie’s violence starts, it never really stops. The action sequences are well done, the shots are beautifully done and the tone is definitely strong in this.
The most surprising thing is that a movie dealing with prostitution and many other sex crimes has no nudity. It helps that the main characters friend is an underage girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and all the other prostitutes are very limited in screen time. It just feels like every R-rated action movie nowadays has gratuitous nudity, so it was welcome that this one did not when they could have found 100 opportunities to do so.
At a glance, this is a near perfect action movie. It has creative deaths, a strong tone and Denzel Washington in front of the camera. It’s biggest issue is that when the action picks up, the substance of the characters drops in quality. Washington is still great, but not as great. The bad guys start feeling like caricatures and while the beginning did a great job establishing the lead, the supporting cast didn’t get enough time to establish themselves. The question of if and when they’ll be put in danger doesn’t matter so much because they’re not that important to the viewer.
Despite that issue, the film is still incredibly fun and action packed. It’s hard to deny that Denzel Washington is an incredibly talented actor and is able to submerge in a wide range of roles. This is definitely one of the best action movies in recent memory and worth a watch if action is your forte.