The Equalizer 2 may be a little formulaic but the action is brutally effective and personally I think it’s superior to the first movie in nearly every way.
Plot: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed – but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?
Review: I’m going to put my hand up and say as much as I enjoyed the first Equalizer I have only ever watched it once and never really had any urge to watch it again as I found it a little too slow in parts. I have it on DVD and it’s still sitting there in its cellophane wrapper; I had planned on watching it before seeing the sequel but I guess I blew it.
Anyway, Avenging Angel Robert McCall returns to help those who can’t help themselves and Denzel Washington has never been so badass; he never loses his equilibrium or his temper but quietly calculates every situation and is always one step ahead of his enemies. Denzel makes what he does look easy with his effortless cool but manages to convey a great burden for all the wrongs he has committed so he helps people as a kind of penance.
When his best friend is killed (for reasons I’m still unsure of) he goes on a one man rampage (while remaining calm) and beats, stabs and shoots anyone who gets in his path.
The Equalizer 2 is wonderfully violent but rather than looking cartoonish there is a real feeling of threat and reminds you that violence brings terrible consequences to all involved.
McCall himself has basically become a superhero who never seems to get hurt but this actually feels like an old-school action movie with a one man army taking on bad guys galore and walking away with a minor flesh wound and possibly a broken nail.
It has oodles of style and several memorable set-pieces but the scene with McCall confronting a group of rapists arguably was my favourite of the entire movie.
The cast are all superb with Ashton Sanders a welcome addition as troubled youth Miles who has talent as an artist but is hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Like the first movie this one has the odd pacing issue and is maybe a little too long but I enjoyed every moment as it gave all the characters room to breathe and also provided us with a little more backstory on who Robert is and why he is such a broken man.
What elevates this one above the original for me wasn’t just the action but the international locations giving it a greater sense of scale and keeping things fresh.
You could argue that it is rather formulaic and a little convoluted but director Antoine Fuqua gives it an almost arthouse sensibility which he brings to his action pictures separating him from his contemporaries.
My biggest gripe with the film was how predictable it was in terms of the villain which was a disappointing cliché but I suppose it wasn’t about the big surprise it was about how McCall would handle it.
Overall, The Equalizer 2 delivers the action goods with Denzel Washington proving once again that nobody does it better especially when he teams up with Antoine Fuqua who remains one of the best action directors in the business. There is a high bodycount, some inventive kills, memorable characters and unlike the first movie I will watch this again many times over the coming months and years.