Star actors are rare. Basically they can and try to ‘act’ in a blockbuster material. What is a blockbuster material? It is where logic takes backseat to create a larger than life image. He/she can pull off miracles, tide away near death crises and most importantly do stupid stuff with élan. Amitabh Bachchan is one such star actor. Give him the same material over and over again, he still finds ways to redeem himself. Like the above scene from ‘Majboor’ my father used to rave about.
Infact, star actors are the ones who make us focus on scenes and continue to talk about them much after we watched the full movie. It is they who increase the shelf life of a movie by allowing us to devour the same movie in bits and pieces. Thanks to them, scene based programs had a good run right from Doordarshan (‘Showtime’) to cable TV explosion (‘Kya Scene Hai on Zee’)…and their popularity stayed intact even with the advent of scene aka clip behemoth—Youtube. Even today most of the star actors’ clips are in much demand and more so, of Mr.Bachchan. In a way, both the mediums and the star actors benefited from each other.
We have such star-actors in Hollywood too like Denzel Washington. Fans flock to watch his films and lap up whatever he does. Many even observe his terrific acting in mundane of situations. And once in a while they like to see him beat the sh*t out of villains.
‘The Equalizer’ was one such excellent opportunity for Denzel and he did exactly that. On one hand he beat the goons like never before (very well choreographed but violent scenes) and on the other did what he does best, terrific acting like looking into the villain’s eyes on the stairs and telling him he isn’t a pushover. So naturally, when ‘The Equalizer 2’ is out, the expectations are bound to be high, with Denzel reprising a role for the first time ever and also because there were many things you could better in comparison with the first film. And you are bound to be short changed. The disappointment plays out at multiple levels—story, treatment, action scenes and the utilization of Denzel.
One wonders why the urgency to dwell into Robert McCall’s past and pick up themes from there rather than sticking to his legend. The loner vigilante decently built up in the first part is enough to sustain the interest in the sequel (this also reflects in the film’s box office opening numbers) and the writers should have dealt ‘The Equalizer 2’ as a standalone film. The action scenes though start off okay, end up totally out of sync towards the end (with an X-Men Wolverine kind of climax fight set against a hurricane).
But the biggest problem is the star-actor’s effective presentation on the screen. While ‘The Equalizer’ has quite a few scenes that give enough ammunition for the actor Denzel to leave his mark, the sequel dumbs it down and doesn’t really create the ambiance for the actor to shine. Most importantly one misses the confrontation scenes with the main antagonist that is sacrificed in the name of an inane plot twist.
In the end we have a sequel that doesn’t live up the to the original, leaving the audiences/fans unsatisfied. And it appears in the process the makers have killed the golden goose. Gold for Denzel fans being he returning in ‘The Equalizer’ avatar again.
There is a lot of difference between Bollywood and Hollywood star actors. An Amitabh could do a Denzel but a Denzel probably coudn’t an Amitabh. But we might never find out