The Equalizer 2 - 2018
Director(s): Antoine Fuqua
Writer(s): Richard Wenk (screenplay) / Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim (TV series)
Cinematography by: Oliver Wood
Editor(s): Conrad Buff IV
Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Orson Bean, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo
Synopsis: Robert McCall serves unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves? (IMDB)
Antoine Fuqua, Richard Wenk and Denzel Washington all join forces once again to revisit their 2014 action thriller, The Equalizer. When the first installment came out I was fine with it; nothing about it stood out from the genre and it was not a big box office hit, so this sequel was a surprise for me. This time around we find Robert McCall (Washington) coming out of the shadows once again to investigate the murder of his lone friend, only to find himself in a deep conspiracy cover up. I think that’s the main plot, because it takes almost an hour for the story to get to that point. Let’s talk about it.
This is not a bad movie, it just feels unfocused as it tries to tackle multiple subplots at the same time it deals with the overarching storyline of the death of his friend. It gets to the point where I don’t care about any of them since McCall is simply trying to keep all the plates spinning at the same time. We have the subplot of the sweet old man trying to get back his painting from his childhood. He lost it during the Holocaust. We have the teenager trying to survive the streets and the gang that wants to recruit him. The Lift job he must use to pay the bills where they show him multiple times picking people up and interacting with them, one being a drunk praying his sins away. It just felt like we watched a movie of someone going through their “to-do” list and in the end going; “Oh yeah, the government conspiracy I was investigating”. Also, he reads a lot of books. Just saying. I do too, so it’s nice to see it multiple times in an action movie.
Quick note: with a long runtime of 2h 9m, this scatterbrained way to storytelling weighs heavily on the audience, to the point that an older gentleman sitting next to me said “What the hell is happening in this movie?” Hilarious and accurate.
Antoine Fuqua has showcased a great eye for action in the past, and going in I knew that I would at least enjoy the action. For the most part, I was accurate with my assumption. The hand-to-hand combats are slick and fast paced. The gunfights are fun and well-choreographed and the third act climax was fun and extremely entertaining. There was a stylistic choice that I didn’t feel was necessary and that was the overuse of the slow-motion vision of McCall. I guess he is so advanced in hand-to-hand combat that he can see everything slow down and predicts all his opponent’s movements. I get that he is a highly trained operative, but it never comes across as plausible.
Quick note: Denzel Washington is always great in his roles. So even if this movie wasn’t pitch perfect, Washington up on the screen is always a welcome sight.
The Equalizer 2 is a laundry list of random acts of kindness from the assumed-to-be-dead Robert McCall. While it is nice that he is putting his particular set of skills to good use, helping those who can’t help themselves in this dark world, it amounts to a frustrating ride. I kept waiting for the main plot of the story to kick in, only for a predictable and trope-heavy plot to emerge almost an hour and some change into the movie’s runtime. Washington is charming, menacing and funny all wrapped into a neat, ass-kicking package, but he is not enough to save this movie from its script. Denzel is why I love movies.
The Equalizer 2 is currently playing in theater. Wait for it to hit Netflix.
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