The Equalizer 2 is a 2018 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and is a sequel to 2014’s ‘The Equalizer’ which was additionally based on a T.V series bearing the same name. Starring Denzel Washington as retired DIA agent Robert McCall, it centres on the latter character and his quest for vengeance after one of his closest friends is brutally murdered.
When a production company hires someone with such a high pedigree like the one and only Denzel Washington, it’s almost a no-brainer that the film is going to be a hit unless other opposing factor(s) manifest themselves so much that they take the sting out of it all; factor(s) that I’ll shed more light on later on in the review. Much like Bruce Willis or Tom Cruise in the ‘Die Hard’ and the ‘Mission impossible’ movie franchises respectively, Denzel fits the mould of Robert McCall and it’s a vibe I carried on from the first installment.
He has such a rich presence playing this taskforce retiree who has an irresistible thirst for vengeance and I felt it, more so in this movie than the last one. It’s almost like he is indebted to the people he wants to help get revenge for wrongs done to them even if they don’t want to or even if they just don’t care about the idea. Of course getting involved in such is sure to get him in a lot of trouble but he can handle it, why not? He is a former DIA agent after all. Whether it’s beating grown men to a pulp for abusing a young woman or going toe to toe with dangerous gangsters, he is up for it; a clear motive is all he needs. McCall is not just all about just brawns, he is brainy as well; using his wit and intellect to help out when he knows getting physical is not necessary.
This time round, tragedy strikes really close and over the course of the movie’s runtime, you get to see why he is fueled up for this particular revenge mission than any other and I was drawn by the lengths he intended to go in order to get to the bottom of the issue.
A good number of the action sequences on here are fantastic and done well; I liked the hand-to-hand combat especially during a scene where Washington’s character is driving on busy streets at high speeds while also trying not to get himself killed by a dagger-wielding man seated in the back seat. The comedy here, though in short supply, was awesome and did not feel out of place; I’m quite sure you’ll be amused by McCall fervently demanding a 5-Star cab service rating from a guy who he just beat up or him savagely telling gangsters that he is the father that their mothers didn’t tell them about during a confrontation. The cinematography is commendable; I got enough detail from the different scenes and shots in the movie to feel included in what was going on.
On the flipside though, this is not a sequel that I would have wanted be done. The first Equalizer did enough to flesh out the main character of McCall and what his agenda was and thus this film, to me, felt like a ‘Hail-Mary’ effort from Columbia Pictures to see whether they can amp up the stakes a little bit more and see whether the reception is much better and they eventually make a chunk of money out of it. Yes, I do agree that the first installment ended with a cliffhanger but in all honesty, it could have just ended the way it ended and we wouldn’t have been crying out for a sequel as fans of this genre. Besides, it’s been 4 years!; that’s a long time to wait, particularly if it’s a motion-picture with a narrative which doesn’t have as much of an appeal to the wider audience.
Additionally, there are a lot of weak characters here who are undeserving of your attention hence they weren’t written well or the actors didn’t give their all playing those roles; this exclusively applies to the main villain. The film kept veering off to a lethargic subplot involving McCall and Miles (Ashton Sanders) for a considerable portion of the runtime and although they are both involved in a difficult predicament towards the end, I didn’t see the flesh it added to the movie’s story; it was evidently just filler, at least in my eyes.
Speaking of the story, it is so uninspiring; the fact that Denzel Washington does a lot to keep the latter alive and relevant through his exceptional acting, I kept thinking of other films that did this type of plot better justice and I am whole-heartedly against anyone who intends wants to play the ‘homage’ card on this. Last but not least, this film’s finale was so ‘meeh’; over its lifespan, I kept hoping it would at least surprise me with something I hadn’t anticipated but my hope kept fading away the more I watched those last scenes in the 3rd Act.
In conclusion, I’d say The Equalizer 2 is a movie that I didn’t go into with high expectations and the fact that I was proved right means that I don’t hold the motion-picture in high regard. Yes, Denzel does knock it off the park with his performance and the action is noteworthy nonetheless, almost everything else wasn’t enticing for me. Maybe you’ll have a different take on this Antoine Fuqua project once you see it; and that’s a big maybe!