Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
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Robert McCall finds himself at home in Southern Italy but he discovers his friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends' protector by taking on the mafia.
This film works almost entirely because of two factors. The first reason why this makes for a solid entry is the incredible screen presence of Denzel and how he is able to make even the most lackluster sequence impactful. The second reason revolves around Fuqua, who is an often solid director. His ability to slow down an otherwise throwaway moment is impressive, and he does this a lot here. This third entry features a story with a less-than interesting plot on occasion. Their attempt to build this world feels like a misfire compared to other modern action franchises. The script is reliant on us caring about this town as much as Robert does, and while we are worried about how he feels, there is less concern for the town itself because of how poorly developed a lot of these side characters are. Dakota Fanning effectively plays an unnecessary agent, who is there to provide a catalyst for certain story beats and do little else.
Each character beyond Robert is just there to move the plot forward, but there is something about his connection to this place that hits hard on occasion. All that we have seen this bad ass character go through makes us want to root for him to settle down in this wonderful place, but he isn’t able to do that because of these local crime bosses (of course). The Italian setting provides some beautiful set pieces, and the way Fuqua handles these action sequences is fantastic. Robert is just as bad ass as he has always been. After an incredible start, there is a fairly lengthy period of time without an action scene, which hurts the pacing. That being said, Washington is so compelling with his line delivery, it isn’t as boring as it could be. Even with the slower moments, the story is far less convoluted than the second film, so this is definitely an upgrade. The finale is great, and the film leaves off on a surprisingly emotional note that works well. While a bit up and down, the overall impact of this third entry is a positive one.
🔜The Nun 2