The Equalizer 2 (2018): Review

Much like Liam Neeson, Denzel Washington continues to accept action roles even though he's now well into his 60s. The Equalizer 2 (and they missed an opportunity to call this movie The Sequelizer) is the first sequel that Denzel has done in his long career and I think its the fourth collaboration between him and director Antoine Fuqua who has worked with him in Training Day, The Magnificent Seven and the first Equalizer which was based loosely on the old television series from the 1980s.

The Equalizer was released in September of 2014 and seemed to perform above expectations. Denzel chose to return for a sequel and Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman, who had small roles in the first film returned as well.

Denzel's character Robert McCall continues to serve as a vigilante and help people who need it while continuing to keep himself hidden. He now works as a Lyft driver after he worked at a Home Depot in the last film. The film starts out with Denzel doing some big favors that aren't really necessary if you've seen the first movie, but are worth it just to see Denzel kick ass.

This could be consider a bit of a Spoiler but I'm going to include it because it was pretty heavily implied in the film's trailers. McCall's friend and ally Susan (Melissa Leo) is killed while investigating a killing in Belgium. He then decides to find justice for her in his own way, with help from another former ally played by Pedro Pascal, who is surprised to find him alive.

There is more of an effort to dig into the backstory of Robert McCall, but there are still some things that are intentionally left vague. It doesn't offer many surprises, but the character is an easy person to get behind since he makes such a huge effort to help people in need. He befriends a troubled young man who lives at the same apartment complex named Miles (played by Moonlight's Ashton Sanders) and their bond in one of the strong points in the film.

Few actors are able to elevate material like Denzel Washington. In a lot of ways I feel like Denzel brings more the collaboration than Fuqua does. Its a bit puzzling that they continue to work together so often. In a lot of ways Denzel is a lot like John Wick he's just so effortlessly badass that no villain really seems like a true threat to him. There are some subplots that make this movie a bit more difficult than it needs to be. It's still pretty easily digestible if you're paying attention

The action is pretty well filmed and there are a couple of really cool sequences. There is location used in the finale that seemed a bit dumb at times, but when the shit hit the fan it was still really cool to watch. There is a pretty generic twist that is unleashed in the final act that didn't really do anything for me, but I was also shaming myself for not noticing.

If Denzel and Fuqua want to do another one of these that would be 100% okay with me. There are many straight forward action movies like this that aren't a Mission Impossible, Bond or Jason Bourne movie. The Equalizer franchise gives us that "middle budget" blockbuster that people don't say we get anymore. I feel like Denzel and Liam Neeson need to team up for an old action star movie before they die. I bet you it'd be better than 2 Guns.

The Equalizer 2 gets 68 out of 100


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