The first Equalizer film was as equally dark and truthful, as it was silly and entertaining. Denzel Washington is one of the few actors nowadays that can truly take reign of a film and run with it. He is an effortlessly charismatic and sympathetic leading man that its hard pressed to find an equal in that respect. Washington played the hero of the first Equalizer, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall with a subdued violence and controlled savagery that was extremely thrilling to watch. The plot of the second romp in the series sees McCall’s past collide with his present life of normalcy when thugs kill Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) — his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins seeking to tie up loose ends including McCall.
If the plot sounds dull and boring, try sitting through it. Such a sharp and drastic contrast to the intense slow burn of the first film, this time the story has little to no stacks and a pacing as dull as watching paint dry. Where the first film thrilled in watching the ‘everyday’, both the character of McCall and everyday places like hardware store, bars etc turn deadly, was all a part of the fun. This time McCall is a Lyft driver that dispatches is own form of neck snapping justice to those who have wronged him or others. The problem is in this film, in an attempt to make it ‘closer to home’ for the character of McCall they in fact distance themselves from the audience. The third act turns into a contrived video game ending instead of a pleasing and exciting end to a narrative arc.
The Equalizer 2 is slickly made, make no mistake. But it’s pretty much a large pile of shoot’em up garbage that pretends to have heart. Denzel has amassed a large amount of favour with movie going audiences over the years and has never done a sequel until now – therefore it’s hard to see such a committed and talented lead, be squandered on something as boring and mediocre as this. This is an instance where one should just stick with the original and forget this one ever happened.
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