Equalizer 2 – Rated R – 2 hrs 1 min.
Director: Antoine Fugua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders and Melissa Leo
There is No Equal
Four years later and Denzel Washington has his first ever sequel. In 2014, “The Equalizer” blazed across screens and gave moviegoers a genuine “superhero” who lives by a specific code and looks to get revenge for those who cannot do it themselves. “The Equalizer 2” picks-up some time after the events of the first film. Robert McCall (Washington) now lives in a small apartment complex, working as a Lyft driver; taking care of small time issues for strangers. Ranging from solving international problems to small-time assaults, no crime is too miniscule for righteousness in the eyes of Robert. This time around, we are given a more in-depth look into his OCD cues and how it affects his daily life; embodied-beautifully, much to the credit of Washington’s performance. However, he is called to help his friends, Susan (Melissa Leo) and Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) as tragedy strikes.
Needing help to solve and hunt-down his revenge, Robert must reconnect with some friends from CIA Black Ops-past, including Dave York (Pedro Pascal). As the stakes are raised, Robert has to dive deeper into his past and confront his own demons in-order to avenge those he loved. The first film packed an impressive punch; bolstering action, brutal violence, and a tale filled with revenge. This time around, “The Equalizer 2” focuses more on the intimate lifestyle of Robert McCall. Here is where we’re met with the overreaching-but-interconnecting storylines that don’t always seem to connect. While one of the segments is very heartwarming, it is seldom visited throughout the film and seems like an after-thought addition. I also felt that the action was toned-down this time as well. There are a few fun action set pieces, but they are few and far between. As for the characters, the returning characters are charming but the new ones offer little to the film and its story (and are far too stereotypical). Luckily, watching Robert’s intense skillset and his brutal punishment is still a blast! While there aren’t nearly as many bad guys to take care of this time around, the ones that do meet their unfortunate demise at his hands certainly are left wishing they never crossed his path. At 121 minutes, the film is a bit shorter than its predecessor but it takes longer to get the ball rolling as well. The film builds on some elements of the original film with precision, but bloats it with other various side stories and characters that just don’t add all that much to the story.
“The Equalizer 2” celebrates violence, but much in the same way the original film (and series) did. Good versus Evil. Good will always triumph and in impressive fashion; showcased by Robert’s cool, calm demeanor and how he calculates every move he makes. Robert McCall is a superhero, one with no super powers but an incredible set of skills. Though it is a small step-back, “The Equalizer 2” still has plenty of charm and wit to entertain both returning and new viewers alike, but hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Robert McCall!
3.5/5 ~ Tony Mosello