Freeze Frame: “The Equalizer 3” (R), “The Good Mother” (R)

There are two words to describe what’s good about the ultra-violent action thriller, “The Equalizer 3.” Those words are Denzel Washington. He returns as an uber-talented former Defense Intelligence agent and vigilante who winds up in Italy reluctantly confronting drug-running mafiosi. He secretly informs a green CIA agent about what’s going down in Sicily to get the Feds involved. By the way, that agent is played by Dakota Fanning who co-starred with Washington as a child in the 2004 vigilante thriller, “Man on Fire,” There is a certain satisfaction to be had in seeing bad guys summarily wiped out, which is why movie’s like this and the “Death Wish” and “John Wick” franchises have always found an eager audience. Still, this movie’s ethics are dubious, and many aspects of the plot are downright ludicrous. But thanks to Washington’s magnetism, “The Equalizer 3” is an involving guilty pleasure.

Sadly, there’s not much good about “The Good Mother.” Hillary Swank is capable as always as an alcoholic journalist whose drug-addicted son is murdered. She teams up with his pregnant girlfriend, played by Olivia Cooke, to try to figure out who is responsible. She also recruits the help of her other son, a city copy played by Jack Reynor. The film is set in Albany, New York and from the grim look of the locations the filmmakers chose, I’m sure the Chamber of Commerce isn’t happy. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out where things are headed in this familiar crime drama. Plus, the movie’s tone never varies, and story has no dramatic arc. Grim and depressing, “The Good Mother” is a one-note affair, and that note is bleak.

Share This Episode