July 22, 2018

Movie Review: The Equalizer 2

Four years ago, director Antoine Fuqua re-teamed with his Training Day star, Denzel Washington, to reinvent a 1980’s crime drama series as a big screen action thriller. That film was The Equalizer. That movie proved to be a hit, making more than $100 million at the box office. I liked it, I thought it could have been more, but there was something about how Denzel portrayed this character that I liked. I never thought it was going to be the sort of film that would get a sequel. Goes to show what I know, right? Anyway, the sequel is here and I went to see it, not expecting all that much. I am here now to tell you that this sequel surpasses the original by a long shot. This movie floored me and I can do nothing but recommend it.

The Equalizer 2 brings back the main trio that delivered the first film, namely director Antoine Fuqua, star Denzel Washington, and writer Richard Wenk. This film they chose to explore the character of Robert McCall a bit more, plus make the story a bit more personal. The result is a movie that may not have as much action as I would have liked, but takes its time to show us more of McCall, while still keeping an air of mystery, and ensuring that the action that is there, means something.

I never watched the source television show, but there is something about the concept, as presented here, has a certain simple elegance to it. You have a quiet, simple living, hero with a shady past, who helps those who need helping and have nowhere to turn. It is sort of like The A-Team, but you don’t have to go looking for him, or have cash to pay him. It is more likely that you will never realize you spoke to him and never know who helped you. The fact that person happens to be the quietly unassuming Robert McCall (Denzel) is just the icing on the cake.

What makes this movie work so well is the way Denzel Washington plays the character, and how he is written here. He lives with the weight of what he has done and what has happened because of his action, or inaction. He lives as simply as he can and always attempts to have a positive impact on those around him, shown here by his relationship with Miles (Ashton Sanders, Moonlight). We see him working as a Lyft driver (I wonder how much money changed hands for that?), making connections with his regulars, and recognizing when he needs to step in for the helpless.

I would have been happy with a movie that was simply that, fortunately, they were not that lazy and gave us more. They dance around the details of his past, letting us a little deeper into McCall and what makes him tick. We learn more of what drives him to do good, his desire to do what he can to make up for what he did. This is taken to the next level when the one person he cares about it targeted by the bad guys and the fight becomes personal.

You know, the more I think about it, I am not so sure it sounds all that special. I am going to ask you to take my word for it. There is something about the flow of this movie, the pacing, the character development that just makes it really work. I was involved right from the start. The McCall character is a genuinely interesting one, complex and simple at the same time. There is a lot of character development, but it is not always spelled out on front of your face, it is in discussions, comments, things left unsaid. It made me appreciate the film more.

The Equalizer 2 may not out-action its predecessor, but it does out do the first in almost every other way. I love this character, seriously, the way he goes about his business, the unassuming nature, the way he attempts to do everything to a positive outcome. He stands out in the age of violence for the sake of violence. It doesn’t shy away from the necessity, but it is not glorified. Bottomline is, this is a really good movie.

Highly Recommended.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Post a Comment