Equalized by Denzel Again

DATELINE:  Inequality!

denzel as mcCall

Don’t infuriate The Equalizer, as played by Denzel Washington for a second time in Equalizer 2.

We loved the Michael Sloan series about “retired” agent Robert McCall on TV with Edward Woodward, and we really like the idea that he has retired into hiding, faked death, to work as a vigilante for hire to help the helpless. We do miss Robert Lansing as Control.

Here he lives in Boston, and the backdrop of the Hub is photographed with all kinds of reverence, from the Zakim Bridge to Roxbury. We also like the notion that to meet people, McCall now works as a Lyft driver.

An old familiar face plays a Jewish passenger. We were shocked to learn it is Orson Bean, whom we have not seen in 40 years.

The corrupt people at the Agency, the Company, or whatever you want to call that American secret spy group, going by odd alphabets, seem to be worse than ever. No wonder McCall wanted out. Now, one of the few people he liked and trusted, Susan, another retired agent (Melissa Leo), has met a mysterious circumstance.

When Denzel goes into full mode, the bad guys should cringe, though these kind of villains always think they can match the hero. Otherwise, there’d be no entertaining movie.

The moral questions about the right of agency’s to off people they deem bad guys, without proof, is at the heart of this film, which makes it a cut above the usual death-by-gruesome-means movies.

Director Antoine Fuqua is adept and amusing enough to set the climax in a hurricane, which certainly helps with the dispatching of bad guys.

 

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Unlocked: Bloom of Youth Gone?

 DATELINE: Spies Who Came in from the Heat

bloom Fading Bloom?

Unlocked is a gender-bender spy tale in which the producers take a routine story and make the hero a heroine, casting the burned-out case of an agent from man to woman. In this case it is Noomi Rapace or is that Roomi Napace?

You can’t tell CIA agent without a scorecard or iPO address.

She is a manly girl, and so is her butch boss, Toni Collette, playing one of those MI6 supervisors in conflict with her American counterpart in the CIA, John Malkovich.

There is some deadpan humor evident, but the main point is whom can you trust? And is anyone really dead?

Don’t make any bets.

Michael Douglas is Noomi’s mentor in a few clipped scenes. He takes a clip or two more than once.

Orlando Bloom looks haggard and covered in tattoos to diminish his once-boyish charms as some kind of thug-cum-wish-come-true.

Yes, there are twists galore and violence unremitting as we try to figure out who the terrorists are and why they are so sympathetic. It seems their cell in London wants to downplay terror attacks in multi-cultural London.

We recall the days when it was New York City that was the melting pot, but times and spies change the war terms.

The film is utterly brazen in its attempt to create a franchise, following the exploits of this female James Bond hopeful. Most of the cast likely could return in one role or another as the spies who loved each other.

 

 

Dark Legacy: CIA & Bush Take Their Lumps

DATELINE:  Who Dunnit?

Bush:Kennedy

In the week that Donald Trump released the long-hidden Kennedy Assassination documents from the National Archives, we decided that revelations never quite meet the theories spawned. The hidden truth was never put into a government memo.

So, we took in one of the most outlandish and yet frightening of all Kennedy murder conspiracy films: Dark Legacy.  This is a three-Hankey movie: John Hankey wrote, directed, and produced this disturbing documentary and conspiracy theory.

This time it is CIA-centered George Bush, the 1st one to be president, who in the 1960s worked for and led (as J. Edgar Hoover called it) ‘some misguided anti-Castro people.’ Bush later was director of the CIA, but his family had dark ties to CIA director Allen Dulles (fired by John Kennedy months before the assassination). Dulles was the fox in the chicken coop when he was appointed to the Warren Commission.

The coincidences pile up about who knew whom. We waited breathlessly to find out that Oswald took in a monthly allotment from the FBI, and that Jack Ruby was on Richard Nixon’s congressional staff in 1947.

The film borders on accusing the CIA of trying to embarrass J. Edgar by putting one of his operatives into the center of the conspiracy to kill Kennedy.

We think it unlikely the recent papers released under Trump’s order will embarrass the Bush family—or even Ted Cruz’s father (allegedly an associate of Oswald). However, the dots connecting so many famous names will rattle you.

This little conspiracy documentary borders on overkill, but however improbable the conclusions, the facts hint at possibility.

Person of Interest: Midseason Adjustments

DATELINE:  Control Bites Dog

Interesting Persons

Readers who follow this blog know our predilection for Person of Interest, perhaps one of the most intriguing series ever to appear on network TV.

Last week one of the principal characters was apparently killed off, not innovative in itself. They did the same a year ago to another major star. This blog never likes to spoil anything, but the spoils of weekly TV are here in this column.

This week’s episode did amuse us as the show put complete focus on Control, the CIA house villain. Played by Camryn Menheim, a literal heavy, Control hijacked the series.

We must admit that when your series introduction disappears and a semi-regular villain appears as a major character for the first teasing sequence, we were not surprised. We were shocked when Control continued to be the main focus of the show through the first two commercial breaks.

Only after what seemed like an eternity, about 25 minutes, did the regulars appear—and then as ironic villains, helping terrorists. What gives?

This is a daring and original TV series, likely to charm and titillate regular fans. Person of Interest has become the sentient sentinel of the death of privacy in America as a supercomputer has taken over the nation.

By show’s end, it appeared to us that the wonderful Menheim’s Control character was about to become a believer in our vigilante protectors of privacy. The Manchurian Candidate has come full circle.

Suspicious, Control visits the scene where Shaw was apparently killed in a firefight on the previous episode. She asks if the scene has been sanitized—and it has literally, with fresh paint still on the walls.

The look on Camryn Menheim’s face as she ran a finger over the wet paint makes us thrilled she is coming over to the right side. This is must-see TV.