“The Equalizer 2” stars Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Pedro Pascal, Melissa Leo, and Bill Pullman. Released on July 20, 2018, the film has Robert McCall seeking the perpetrators who murdered his longtime friend.
The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also directed films such as “The Replacement Killers”, “Training Day”, and “Southpaw”. It is a sequel to the 2014 film, “The Equalizer”, which is based on the 1980s television series of the same name created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. This weekend brings us plenty of sequels that will cater to their different types of audiences, including action fans, musical fans, and horror fans. Today, we’re going to start things off with a thrilling follow-up to a television-to-film adaptation. Antoine Fuqua revived the 1980s show for a new generation of fans with the 2014 adaptation, which was a box office success despite receiving mixed reviews. I did remember liking the first film because of Washington’s performance and its style, but I haven’t gone back to it that much since then. It might be because of the film’s running time and pacing. This thrilling sequel reunites Fuqua with Denzel Washington (one of my mother’s favorite actors), who’s making his first ever sequel debut since the actor is known for only starring in original films. Will they be enough to generate an entertaining follow-up? Let’s find out.
Washington reprises his role as Robert McCall, a former CIA agent who now works as a Lyft driver while also continuing to help people with their unfortunate issues. When he discovers that one of his friends, Susan Plummer (Leo), was killed, McCall sets out on a revenge-filled journey to bring the assailants to justice. In other words, it’s a by-the-numbers thriller that happens to be over two hours long. It might not work out for some people who wanted something new from the formula, but for Washington fans, it packs an enjoyable, but painless, punch. Washington delivered another engaging performance as McCall, proving once again that his charisma can handle the action genre just as well as it can handle drama. If you like him in his other roles, I can bet that his performance in this film will easily win you over. Antoine Fuqua is always known for helming films that involve brutal violence and some stylish angles, and this film appears to be no different. Although the amount of action is very limited, the way they shot those sequences were pretty clean and swift (and also very violent). It’s pretty much what you would expect from a thriller that has Denzel Washington beating up people, but again, it might not impress everybody. One of the reasons why would have to be the running time. For a simplistic plot like this, I’m not entirely sure that it needed to be that long, especially since it has more dialogue than action. I don’t know what I would cut out since they’re crucial to the story, but I do know that those who wanted a short and fast-paced action thrill ride may find it either slow or a bit too long. Another reason would have to be its plot. The film does involve McCall searching for the people responsible for murdering his friend, but it also has a subplot that involves him and his relationship with a young man named Miles Whittaker, who was portrayed very well by Ashton Sanders. Even though that subplot connects to the main storyline during the third act and doesn’t slow the film down at all, I felt that it would’ve worked as a separate film. During the first two acts, it felt like it is switching from one film to the other every now and then instead of only focusing on one, which may get a bit confusing for people who are only seeing this for the revenge thriller plot. I don’t know, that’s just how I see it. The way they work these two stories together was suitable and generous, but in terms of its character-driven moments, it’s not enough to throw the film’s usual revenge tropes out the window.
Overall, “The Equalizer 2” is an enjoyable follow-up that once again showcases Denzel Washington seeking justice. As its own film, however, it’s another typical revenge thriller that deals with style trying to overweigh its average storytelling. I did manage to have a nice time watching this film despite its flaws, although it would be hard for me to recommend it to those who prefer a perfect mixture of style and substance. However, I can recommend it to people who enjoy Denzel Washington and his films.