Harry Brown: movie review

Michael Caine plays an an ex-marine gone vigilante in ‘Harry Brown,’ a thriller set in a dank London neighborhood.

Samuel Goldwyn Films/AP
In this image, Emily Mortimer, left, and Michael Caine are shown in a scene from 'Harry Brown.'

Why, oh why, are we watching Michael Caine in a role tailor-made for Charles Bronson? As the titular character in “Harry Brown,” he’s playing an ex-marine living in a crummy London neighborhood infested with drug-dealing toughs. When an old friend of his is killed by these slime, he goes vigilante.

Caine has often made bad movies in the past – “Jaws: The Revenge” wasn’t exactly “Citizen Kane” – but he’s become choosier over the years. According to interviews, “Harry Brown,” because it was filmed in the neighborhood he grew up in, actually has a special meaning for him. But vigilante rage is a loaded subject and demands much more than the drooly, splattering treatment it gets here.

Caine acts dignified throughout, but there’s no way to dignify dreck. Grade: D- (Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, drug use, and sexual content.)

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