What is it about the old opening up a can of whoop-ass on the young? For those who didn’t get enough “senior empowerment” from Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, now Michael Caine has stepped into the ring with what basically looks to be the rough, English equivalent. Harry Brown opened on 350 screens in the UK last weekend, and the Samuel Goldwyn Company has just picked up the film for stateside distribution. In it, Caine plays the titular hero, a former Marine out for blood after his best friend is killed by a gang of marauding neighborhood thugs. The trailer (after the jump) limns his transition from Geritol to gun play, and makes it clear that Matlock has officially left the building.
There aren’t lots of salient, big-screen precedents for violent, avenging oldies like this — too small of an audience demographic is my guess — but the thing that Caine’s grim, determined visage here reminds me of most is the old CBS television series The Equalizer, in which Edward Woodward (also an Englishman) played an urban vigilante for hire in New York City. He was essentially a one-man A-team, except he was mannered, a little bit dapper, and of course, “mature”. He actually suffered a heart attack during the series and was, for a short time, replaced by none other than Robert Mitchum! Dig on the opening sequence, depicting the frightful anomie of 80’s Gotham.