MOVIE REVIEW: Getting mad, getting even, getting a bit dull
One of the marketing angles for The Equalizer 2 is that it marks the first ever time star Denzel Washington has fronted up for a sequel.
Just as economics certainly have a part to play in Washington wishing to take a second bite of the box-office cherry - 2014's The Equalizer quadrupled its budget to take home a tidy $260 million worldwide - artistic motivation most certainly does not.
Nevertheless, with much whacking, whomping and egregious body harm to dish out here, Washington is disarmingly fighting fit for a man of 63 years of age.
In this brutal, bare-bones action thriller, Washington solemnly reprises his role as deep-cover freelance vigilante Robert 'Bob' McCall.
Not much has changed in Bob's world since we saw him last, aside from the fact he longer works in Boston's equivalent of a Bunnings Warehouse.
While Old Bob now turns a buck as an indie ride-share driver (Lyft, not Uber, if you really need to know), he is still open to certain offers should there be a wrong in need of righting.
All of which justifies The Equalizer 2's attention-grabbing prologue, which finds a bushy-bearded Bob on a train in rural Turkey bloodily settling an international custody dispute.
Once all attention is focused on the drudgery of life back in Boston, the movie hits the pause button for a while to give us a refresher course on the many monk-like ways in which Bob fills his days.
After this mildly diverting interlude passes, we gradually reach the big incident which will provoke Bob into taking matters into his own hands in his own inimitable way.
It is here The Equalizer 2 rather tactlessly, yet moderately effectively, plays the "this time it's personal" card. Bob's close friend and former CIA teammate Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is viciously murdered in what appears to be a random hotel room robbery in Belgium.
Needless to say, a vast conspiracy is afoot, and only Robert McCall can slice, dice and thump his way through to the truth.
The climactic dispensation of rough justice - impressively staged during a wild hurricane, of all things - is almost worth the price of admission. However, the grind of the getting-there could have you requesting a discount.
THE EQUALIZER 2 (MA15+)
Rating: Two and a half stars (2.5 out of 5)
Director: Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, Jonathan Scarfe.