The Equalizer 2
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by: Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim
Featuring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman,
Melissa Leo, Orson Bean
Robert McCall is still ‘dead’ but is making a living driving customers to and from places as a ‘Lyft’ driver but he still moonlights turning rights into wrongs using his unique and myriad CIA black ops skills. When one of the few people he is close to appears to be murdered in a robbery McCall digs deeper and discovers something bigger and corrupt. McCall then sets forth to put this wrong right too.
I enjoyed the first film, despite not really liking these type of films, so I approached The Equalizer 2 with some trepidation. There is no doubt the Denzil Washingston’s charisma and laconic acting style made the first Equalizer a success and certainly would tempt a lot of people to watch it that maybe would not normally do so. But here we are with one of my least favourite film numbers ‘2’.
Having said this Denzil Washington is in the film, he does not do sequels, he does not phone-in performances and he certainly does not need the money so there must be something to it. Truth be told there is and there is not. When Washington is on the screen, whether it is being sage, or duffing people over, or just being nice or funny, you get your money’s worth. Luckily he is on the screen a lot. His character is interesting and appealing and to use a very overused expression he is ‘badass’.
No, the problem with the film is the story is a bit tired and saggy at the edges. McCall’s clearly has a strong sense of right and wrong and a strong moral compass he does not need a hackneyed and very old plot-point to drive him into a new and interesting story. A lot of story points could be spotted miles away and it was fairly easy to guess who was going to make it to the credits, who was not, and who were the baddies.
This is not say that the supporting cast acted badly or you did not feel a sense of peril for the characters but there is a strong sense of ‘seen it all beforeism’ in the run time. The denouement was frankly disappointing and left me with some seriously raised eyebrows. It did keep my interest though as I tried to figure out who was going to ‘get it’ during the storm and I was dead-on, he with the least amount of lines and screen-time dies first.
More enjoyable was McCall’s earlier ‘equalizing’ which padded out the first part of the story but helped to established that if you do bad and he runs across your path you are in big trouble, they actually made more sense than some of the ‘main’ story.
Further to this the side-story involving Orson Bean’s holocaust survivor whilst having its heart in the right place was clunky and a bit saccharine particularly the way it was tied-up. A bit too neat and lovely.
Overall I found The Equalizer 2 enjoyable and watchable but it was definitely diluted from the original and to my mind perhaps Robert McCall should be allowed to live out his salad days in peace especially when you consider the amount of mayhem he seems to cause from time to time he probably is not going to get away with his vigilantism for too much longer.