the equalizer 2
DIRECTOR: antoine fuqua (training day, shooter, the equalizer)
STARRING: denzel washington, melissa leo, ashton sanders, and pedro pascal
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Robert McCall returns to deliver his special brand of vigilante justice when thugs kill his friend and former colleague.
People were surprised when The Equalizer 2 was green lit by Sony before the first instalment hit theatres. But Sony weren't just gambling blindly, The Equalizer was a box office success.
Four years later we're back and the story follows a similar rhythm with Robert McCall, former CIA black ops operative, living the normal suburban life except for when he sees people in trouble he steps in to help with violent consequences for the perpetrators.
When his close friend is killed, McCall begins to pull together the pieces of the murder and starts to hunt down those responsible one by one.
The trailer sells The Equalizer 2 as wall to wall action. Its not. Its essentially a drama peppered with action sequences. We see McCall caring for the old man that he taxi's, the woman who sells him his books (he's nearly at the end of his list), and his neighbours. In big, action packed films you can sometimes get so lost in the explosions and gun battles, that you lose the intimacy of human interaction. But this is where The Equalizer 2 shines and a part from Denzel's acting (which we will get to later), this is the strongest aspect of the films story.
Some may call it slow and sometimes the general pacing of the story is a little off, but generally it works. Its not until the third act that the story stumbles a bit, not unlike the first instalment.
Its just too easy to figure out who the baddie is - you can see it a mile off. Also our expectation is greatly heightened around this huge conspiracy that involves CIA agents getting assassinated that is dealt with in a really simple way. I don't blame the audience for feeling a little cheated by the ending.
The slowness of the story is also not a bad thing as there are times that every-award-that-an-actor-could-win Denzel Washington comes out. He commands the screen with such an intensity of power you cannot help but be transfixed but a little fearful. He shows again why he is regarded as one of the best in the business.
The pace is a little patchy and you can see the baddie coming from a mile away, but the saving grace of The Equalizer 2 is the intimacy of the story and Denzel Washington.