The original Equalizer became a surprise hit back in 2014 and now in the days where virtually anything can be greenlit into a franchise, here we are with this one. I’m not sure if it’s a second chapter we wanted or asked or even expected, but you know what? It delivers.
Denzel Washington stars in a better film than the first one. This time his character Robert McCall is out to continue to right the wrongs done by criminals by dishing out his own personal brand of vigilante justice. He gets wind of the brutal murder of a dear friend of his and sets out on a journey to find the people responsible. I mentioned in my review of Skyscraper that it was Dwayne Johnson’s variation of Die Hard. Well, for this series, it might as well be called Denzel’s Death Wish.
When he’s not busy cracking skulls for information, he spends the rest of his time as a Lyft driver and developing friendships. One of them is an elderly Jewish man and the other is a streetwise black kid who has a taste for artistic endeavors. The apartment building that McCall lives in has been vandalized with graffiti and he hires the kid to do some renovation. All of these scenes do work.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an Equalizer movie without some of the trademark action that was used in the first movie and this movie does feature some sequences where Washington interrogates his victims in brutal fashion. I was thinking I would love to see John Wick cross paths with this guy.
Washington gives another solid performance that is both smart and intense and proves that even though he’s in his 60’s, age is just a state of mind. This sequel is heavy on plot and somewhat short on action and with less humor, but it can prove to be satisfying if your patience isn’t thin.
Director Antoine Fuqua, a regular working with Washington, stages the action in a way that is brutal, but also proves to be stylish and effective. The plot knows that it’s a straightforward revenge flick and we only count down the moments until Denzel is ready to kick butt.
The plot is often by-the-numbers and when it goes convoluted, Washington sells it.
(Rated R for brutal violence throughout, language, and some drug content.)