The Equalizer 2 (Full Review)

So what, if Denzel Washington is 63-years-old? He could be an 80-year-old, blind, paraplegic and he’d still be able to sell himself as an action star. Few actors can command a scene like Washington. So even though he’s getting up there in age, it’s still exciting to see him reunite with Director Antoine Fuqua and reprise his role as Robert McCall for The Equalizer 2.

The_Equalizer_2_posterWhen Robert McCall isn’t spending time exacting vigilante justice on bullies and gangsters who prey on the little guy, he’s ferrying people around as a Lyft driver and mentoring a young artist (Ashton Sanders) who lives in his apartment building. But that all changes when McCall learns that his closest friend and former colleague (Melissa Leo) has been murdered. With only the help of another former partner (Pedro Pascal), McCall begins a violent mission to avenge his friend.

It should be no surprise that Washington is once again magnetic as McCall. The wholesome charm and calculated intelligence he brings to the character reminds you of a guardian angel or the father figure everyone would want. The action sequences also don’t disappoint… unless you’re actually looking for the hero to be challenged (Hint: It’s not that type of movie). Like John Wick or Liam Neeson in Taken, Denzel moves throughout this film punishing his enemies with inventive fight choreography and some keen camera work to highlight each move.

But there is one massive problem with The Equalizer 2. It barely has a story. The first third of the movie feels like snippets of a T.V. show with McCall playing nice with uninteresting side characters and beating up random bad guys. Sure, it’s important to show audience members who skipped the first Equalizer that McCall is a badass, but one scene of this nature would suffice. We also don’t need to have a bunch of minor characters for McCall to connect to when one (Sanders) is clearly established as the most integral to the plot.

While the first film didn’t have an intricate plot by any stretch, it still maintained a focus around Chloe Graze-Moretz’s character. Yes, Denzel Washington is fun to watch in his return to the role, but it appears as if his character doesn’t actually have anything interesting to do this time around. It shouldn’t take an hour for a film to find its focal point, and when it does, it’s hard for anyone to stay interested regardless of who is in front of the camera. Equalizer 2 has some exciting moments, but it’ll be one of the last movies you’ll remember from 2018.

FINAL GRADE: C

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Denzel Washington Movie Review… You know which one

The Equalizer was a television show about a retired black ops agent who volunteers to help people in trouble. It ran in the late 80’s. But you don’t care… nor should you. Because, as I made evident in the title of this post, it doesn’t matter what the name of this movie is or what the plot is. You watched, or will watch, for one reason and one reason only.

The_Equalizer_posterDenzel Washington is arguably at the top of the list of actors we’ll watch in anything (and justifiably so). Here, he takes on the role of Robert McCall, a former intelligence agent who, in this film, lives a peaceful life working at a hardware store in Boston (the most heinous, corrupt Boston imaginable). His happily meticulous life is interrupted after a teenage prostitute (Chloe Grace-Moretz) he befriends, is brutally beaten by her Russian boss. Avenging her sets off a wave of violence as the Russian Mob comes after him.

Denzel Washington has played some badass roles in his long career: American Gangster, Training Day, The Book of Eli are just some off the top of my head. But this role? It’s on a whole different level. Imagine Liam Neeson’s character in the Taken films, but even more skilled. I’m seriously not joking. Washington’s character leaves an even larger body count and rarely picks up a gun throughout the entire film. And he’s more likable too. He’s the perfect person; reading books in honor of his deceased wife, voluntarily helping coworkers better their lives, sticking up for the little guy… hell, I kept expecting him to help an old lady across the street.

But it isn’t just the charming likability and the humble toughness of Washington’s character that makes the movie a worthwhile outing. There are several nice little undertones and dramatic moments wedged in there to keep it from being as dumbed down as something Jason Statham would make. The supporting cast is also solid, highlighted most notably by Marton Csokas as Washington’s equally brooding adversary.

There may not be an intricate plot or even an adequate amount of worthy challenges for the hero. But, what The Equalizer does give you is a solid superhero, creepy villain-like story with the backdrop of a crime thriller. You’ll have to excuse some action movie clichés, like walking away from a massive explosion in slow motion or the villain methodically walking after prey instead of sprinting. Little moments like that threaten to turn this into a ‘B’ movie, but overall, it’s undoubtedly ‘A’ movie fun to watch.

FINAL GRADE: A-