Denzel Washington returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his career. Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed – but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?
What We Thought:
Overall I liked The Equalizer 2, but Denzel Washington’s first sequel of his career is also kind of a mess. Oscar winner Washington has been around for decades at this point yet this is his very first sequel!
I’ll start with the positives. Positive number one is, it stars Denzel Washington. Let’s be honest, he’s one of the best and is always enjoyable to watch. His Robert McCall is charismatic, charming, tough as nails and someone who believes in righting wrongs. There’s even one speech that will remind people of his “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock” speech from Malcolm X. He’s simply Denzel and he’s one of my favorite actors to watch.
The action sequences are cool. Director Antoine Fuqua has a resume built on action and it’s no different here. The film opens with Denzel on a train overseas and quickly jumps into action. Throughout the film he fights rich, preppy white boys, fellow former military guys, gangsters and more. Just like the first movie, it slows down at points in the action so the audience “sees” what McCall is seeing or preparing to do. It’s a pretty cool effect that I’m happy to see was continued from the original for the most part.
But unfortunately the film has a hard time flowing together. McCall is a former military man who put all that in the past. In the first movie he works at a warehouse doing a common job, but he goes back to his old ways to help a young girl dealing with Russian gangsters. He becomes The Equalizer. This opens on a train with him doing an “Equalizer” job, trying to get back a girl. He goes back to Boston, drives for a ride sharing company and also does “Equalizer” jobs like beating up some guys who beat up a girl and trying to keep a neighbor boy off the streets.
But then a friend from his past dies and he has to figure out who did it and get revenge. He’s no longer “The Equalizer” he’s just a former military man getting revenge for his friend’s murder. He bounces around Boston, D.C., Belgium and the story is more about his past friendships than being an “Equalizer”.
And the thing is, while he’s a ride share driver, he picks up people, the audience is introduced to characters and some pan out while others don’t. An older character is trying to find proof that a painting belongs in his family and then you completely forget about him till the end. The neighbor serves a point in the end action sequences, but ultimately that character could have been cut completely and you still end up with Denzel fighting men from his past. Either stick with McCall being The Equalizer or just make a different movie with a different character played by Denzel where his past catches up to him. There’s just too much of a tonal shift from scene to scene and they forgot to go back to the slow motion stuff with his watch midway through the film.
I was wondering why there wasn’t a lot of buzz for The Equalizer 2 lately and I can understand why. During the NBA playoffs the trailer was everywhere, but that was a few weeks back and the buzz has died. Denzel Washington makes anything watchable and overall it is something I’d probably watch again, but it has issues and a lot of it could have/should have been trimmed out.
Cast & Crew:
- Denzel Washington
- Pedro Pascal
- Ashton Sanders
- Bill Pullman
- Melissa Leo
- Director Antoine Fuqua
Recommended If You Like:
- The Equalizer
- Denzel Washington