Denzel Washington returns as Robert McCall to a true signature role for the legendary actor and brings with him a wealth of acting experience, brilliance and intensity. The Equalizer 2 also reunites him with Director Antoine Fuqua and so you know from the off that the action will be strong and impressive. Surprisingly, this is also the first sequel of Washington’s career, so he must wanted to revisit the character enough to re-imbed into and I have to say… it’s great to see him back again.
As always, he’s out to serve justice for the exploited people he meets and witnesses around him, but when it gets personal, and involves someone for whom he had a deep affection, how far will he go to balance out the bad in the world? The Equalizer 2 is hard to setup without giving a whole sequence of things away, plus it’s a bit predictable once you start working things out, but you should find more than enough to hold your attention.
McCall has taken up a job as a Lyft driver and this enables him to experience the good times of some people’s lives and the bad times of others. Obviously, the latter means he can get his hit of vengeance for those who can’t do it themselves. In this early instance, it’s a woman who’s been drugged and thrown in a taxi, so he heads back (after dropping her off at the hospital) to take down the rich guys who messed her up. He reminds them never to do it again, with a large dose of broken fingers, heads and a heavy administration of general pain. Sure, it’s questionable whether he should be taking these matters in this own hands but he wouldn’t be the ‘equalizer’ if he didn’t, would he?
While there is a wider story lingering beneath the surface, and two other sub-stories involving a young lad named Miles (Ashton Sanders) on his block and an old man trying to find his past, these films are all about Denzel and his effortless magnificence. While the overall nature of the movie may not exactly scream logic or cohesion, the opening sequence is entertaining in a Bond-like way but random in the grand scheme of things, I was specifically captivated by an absolute masterclass from Denzel doing what he does best. In particular, his intense altercation with Miles – when he challenges him to ‘be a man’ – is superb and everything we’d come to expect, with Sanders also bringing a stand-out performance in the film.
While The Equalizer 2 has everything you come to expect from this type of revenge thriller, it does also features some stunning cinematography that’s both expansive and smart. However, the screenplay isn’t that inventive beyond some classic ‘evil’ clichés and so the film ends up relying on brutal fight sequences, action set-pieces and Denzel appearing like Batman (I have no idea how he turns up in one instance) to save people he’s protecting or take down the baddies. Of course, Denzel’s McCall is the saving grace of everything plus that continual trait of doing what’s morally and ethically right bubbling underneath. If you liked the first, and John Wick, I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy this renewed Fuqua and Washington team-up.
On the Special Features, the ‘Retribution’ mode is particular impressive, which includes deleted and extended scenes alongside joining Denzel and Antoine as they take us through the making of their favourite scenes with exclusive chats and insights.