By Peter Killip.
“A man can be an artist….in anything …food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey’s art is death. He’s about to paint his masterpiece.”
Denzel’s “Man On Fire” predates Liam Neeson’s “Warm and fuzzy A-lister turned man with particular set of skills” outing by a good 4 years and this re-imagining of yet ANOTHER 80’s TV show certainly serves as a timely and grisly reminder that Washington isn’t ready for the best exotic marigold hotel just yet.
Kicking off, we find our man McCall living a pretty much solitary life of working at a DIY superstore and helping his chunky mate shed some weight by day and frequenting a Nighthawks like coffee shop where he brings his own tea-bags and cracks on to the prostitutes who go there and change their careers( bet the staff LOVE him…..his own bloody tea-bags….) by night, he doesn’t judge anyone, keeps himself to himself, but a bit patronizing and kind of scary, a lot like Jesus.
On discovering that his favourite hooker with a heart of gold has taken a kicking from her employers, this sets our urban Jesus on a head on collision with the Russian bloody mafia, which sees a solid 30 seconds of action that would have been half reet were it not played out in painstaking detail in the bastard trailer. At least things speed up a gear when the “End Of Level Boss” type character “Pushkin” sends his enforcer “Teddy” ( I know…..) and some assorted heavies seemingly from a Captain Morgan’s promo shoot to clear up and intimidate.
Hilarity ensues as good guys and bad guys suss each other out like a drawn out weigh-in pre- title bout and when Pushkin comes to shove, McCall has a five fingered discount at work and this weird McCall -o-vision thing (put to much better use in “Sherlock” all be told) going on, so there’s that.
Watching an old man beating the snot out of euro-trash soon gets formulaic so come the inevitable shop floor showdown, when our “Care-worker Commando” goes full on tits out “B&Q Bezerker”, your thirst has been sated.
It’s a decent bit of Saturday night escapism that feels more like a lengthy TV pilot than an actioner in its own right, easy enough stuff to iron out for the sequelizer (I’m not apologising) so, more “Paint-by-numbers” than a “masterpiece” then but it’s good to see Grandpa picking up a paintbrush again.
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