6/10 It is hard to believe that Denzel Washington has never made a sequel in his decades long career until now. Since this is his first sequel, you could say that raised expectations for him to sign on for something he has never done before. Director Antoine Fuqua also returns to direct after having previously helmed the first film. I enjoyed the first film and although it wasn’t extremely memorable, it was an entertaining time and super fun to see Denzel kicking ass as he reaches his twilight years (but still looks great for his age). This sequel has some positives that put it above the first film in certain respects but also several negatives that bring it back to an end result that is basically slightly under the first film. To start with the positives first I will say the cast does a good job with the material given to them, particularly the always reliable Denzel Washington. A lot of the action scenes are well orchestrated and contain the right mix of tension and grisly violence. This was also a more emotionally striking film than its predecessor which tugged on the heartstrings in several scenes. I liked that we also go slightly more into Denzel’s character’s background and history but without giving too much away. There is still a lot of mystery behind him but the film makers do give us some new information to chew on. As for the negative aspects, the biggest is probably the villain. Not to say the villain is bad, but he pales in comparison to the villain from the first film. I think Hollywood has overdone the conflicted villain and I prefer the pure evil villains with no redeemable qualities like the first film had. There should be diversity in villains, but I feel like I have seen this villain before in other films that did a better job and made their villain more memorable. The climactic end battle is fine but is not as gripping, surprising or memorable as the first film’s climactic Home Depot type store finale. There are some plot conveniences (how is he always so easily able to find random people whom need help?) and some unrealistic circumstances but nothing too extremely glaring. There are some decent twists and turns and overall this is a fun, passable film just like the first (although I put it ever so slightly under the first film, they are pretty neck and neck overall) so if you enjoyed the first film, action movies or seeing Denzel still killing it into his 60s, you will enjoy this film.
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