Two Different Takes on Vengeance (PG and R)


What to Watch in the Theater:
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (PG) is in theaters now. This sequel features the whole gang from the previous two, but they’re now on a Monster Cruise vacation. Dracula isn’t thrilled about the trip, until he falls for Captain Erica, who harbors a dark family secret. There are plenty of fun gags as all the monster families enjoy their new surroundings, Drac explores his feelings, and a longtime rivalry finally comes to a head. Not as good as the original, but still a fun family film.
Our rating: 4.08 out of 5


The Equalizer 2 (R) opens today. This time, Robert McCall’s vengeance is personal. As in the original, he’s still helping out strangers (which is great), using his special ops skills (violence) to teach people lessons and encourage them to make better choices. This time he’s a Lyft driver, which is a good way for him to meet people in some form of distress. He also still has a penchant for (less violent) mentoring. But when one of the only people he’s close to is killed, his training kicks into overdrive. This one has little more emotion than the original, and adds an element of suspense to the action.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Swap (TVG) is on DVD. This Disney Channel Original Movie is a new take on the body swapping theme. This time we’ve got gender-switching, along with athletic skill-switching. There’s a heavy dose of family drama on each side, which gives the characters a way to relate to each other. And, because this is high school, we’ve got mean girls as well. It’s certainly no Freaky Friday, but there are some likable elements here, and of course, some positive messages about helping others.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

The Great Wall (PG13) is on DVD. This historical fantasy film was largely overlooked at the box office. Filmed in China, with a mostly Chinese cast (and hence some subtitles), it examines one of the legends behind the existence of the Great Wall of China. In this case, it defends the country from large reptilian beasts with big teeth, that could easily wipe out the entire population during one of their feeding frenzies. Two European mercenaries (including Matt Damon’s character), in search of black powder, become part of the fray. It’s a preposterous movie with a huge budget and lots of CGI, but the premise is interesting, the weapons innovative, and the costumes magnificent. It’s a fun (but long) watch, if you suspend your disbelief and don’t worry about the quality of the acting (and Matt Damon’s come-and-go accent).
Our rating: 4 out of 5

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