The Equalizer 2 Movie Review
Denzel Washington is back in The Equalizer 2. The sequel to the solid but overly long sleeper hit is a not-quite-as-solid but still overly long action film, one that is entertaining when Denzel is killing people and less entertaining when he isn’t.
Antoine Fuqua returns to direct as well, which means you pretty much know what you’re going to get: an efficiently directed film with some above average sequences pieced together to make something where the sum isn’t quite as great as the parts.
Denzel delivers a strong performance, though he could probably pull the role off in his sleep without much effort. Robert McCall isn’t exactly a challenging character—though he suffers from the loss of his wife and a sense of loneliness that Fuqua likes to show but not really explore, he’s pretty much a saint who just happens to have both the capability and willingness to kill or injure anyone who has done a bad thing.
And of course he drives for Lyft and not Uber.
Acting aside, The Equalizer 2 is a pretty run-of-the-mill action-thriller that has some brutally violent action sequences dotting a disappointingly generic plot. Fuqua delivers some great bursts of gratuitous violence, most notably in a “car chase” scene that ends with a knife stabbing that had the audience buzzing. Even when the action is stuff we’ve seen before—the entire climax, while effectively staged, has been done many times over—Fuqua and Denzel believes some satisfyingly slick moments.
Where the movie falters is in its focus, or lack thereof. Fuqua really wants to show how great McCall is, so there’s a subplot about him befriending a young black artist who is on the verge of becoming a gangbanger, and, more problematic only because it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, another subplot where he spends time with an elderly Holocaust survivor (is there any other kind?) who may or may not be crazy. The Equalizer 2 drags at times and, despite being 15 minutes shorter than its predecessor, feels 15 minutes too long anyway.
Trimming and tightening would have gone a long way.
The Equalizer 2 is clunky in parts and marred by both too many narratives and the most predictable bad guy trope. The movie is still largely entertaining, however, and works most of the time in spite of its flaws. It isn’t great, and it isn’t as good as the first one, but it has its moments. And it has Denzel.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.