Denzel Washington is back on the big screen for the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster action hit. In “The Equalizer 2,” we follow retired United States Marine and ex-DIA agent Robert McCall (played by Washington) who has been aiding the beaten, exploited, and oppressed by serving unflinching justice. But when McCall’s dangerous past cuts especially close to home, he will need all of his skills to settle the score.
This time, he must come face to face with highly trained assassins who will stop at nothing to destroy him. Columbia Pictures presents this Escape Artists / Zhiv / Mace Neufeld production, starring Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it is produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Denzel Washington, Antoine Fuqua, Alex Siskin, Steve Tisch, Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge, and Michael Sloan. It is written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.
The film opens with McCall tracking down a man who kidnapped his daughter from his wife and is currently travelling to Istanbul via train. This opening sequence sets the right tone for the film with its violent yet thrilling fight scene. McCall also looked bad-ass as he mercilessly beat up a group of rich young men who drugged and raped a woman that he took to the hospital. These weaponless combats come bloody and savage. Despite that, these scenes are also the reason why Washington is such a delight to watch onscreen as he brutally takes down these bad guys and give the justice that these weak people deserve.
McCall is also given a moment to show his character’s softer side as he helps an elderly Holocaust survivor named Sam (Orson Bean) who is looking for a painting of his sister. McCall decided to help him be reunited with his long lost sister, giving his serious and merciless vigilante persona a heart.
To his credit, director Antoine Fuqua manages to weave some beautifully orchestrated action sequences. This is one of the film’s main strengths as each punch is felt by the audience. Each stab and slice will make you squirm. Each blow will make you move your head as if you are the one who’s about to get hit. I really loved this type of action because my heart is pounding every time I see McCall teach these low lives a lesson or two. Denzel Washington, despite his age of 63, still manages to bring the character of Robert McCall to life with such zest and energy. His passion and commitment to the role is very evident onscreen as he transforms to McCall’s persona effortlessly in every scene. Washington and Fuqua really make a great team when it comes to this genre because the results of their collaborations are truly amazing.
The only problem is that once the film reaches its second half, the story starts to get slow. The pacing becomes plodded and the excitement and tension built by the first half of the film disappears, making the rest of it a drag. Instead of the pacing picking up since the tension should be going high by now, the story loses its direction, to the point that it almost felt like they were stretching the film too far. I understand that they were trying to go for a slow burn take on the film but it doesn’t really feel as exciting and thrilling as the first half.
Despite this flaw, I must say that I was pretty much entertained. The film promises some really pulpy action and fans of the genre will definitely get what they are paying for. You will have a great time watching Denzel Washington transform into a man of divine retribution – a kind of dark angel – the angel we all wish would come down and serve justice to people who deserve it.
Despite misgivings, “The Equalizer 2” delivers the punches and serves justice in a brutal but sweet way.
5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
“The Equalizer 2” is distributed by Columbia Pictures and is now showing in cinemas nationwide.