Film review: The Equalizer 2

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3.5/5

In this worthy action sequel, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is living a quiet life in urban Massachusetts, working as a taxi driver. Once again he comes out of self-imposed exile from his CIA past to right injustices for the simple folk passing through his life who are unable to fight back. When someone close to him is brutally murdered, he returns to the dark world of assassins and operatives, seeking vengeance and living up to the film’s name.

From the first scene of the movie, Denzel’s character is re-established as the meticulous, resourceful and brutal mercenary when he calmly disposes of a group of thugs on a train in bone-crunching, blood-spurting efficiency. However, this sequel is not a carbon copy of the first. It has glimpses of the original’s memorable moments to keep enthusiasts interested, but director Antoine Fuqua chooses to focus on an exploration into McCall’s backstory. And why not? With an experienced, award-winning actor like Washington to provide the brilliant balance between moody man of few words and loyal friend flashing a smile of genuine warmth, it was a character exploration worth taking.

This sequel answers many of the questions from the first. McCall is not a psychopath, but enjoys simple quiet pleasures such as interacting with honest hardworking acquaintances. He cares about their hardships and does something about it – usually without them even finding out. The irony and enjoyment of him being a taxi driver and living in a suburban apartment block able to listen in on others’ stories is not lost on the audience.

Then before you know it, he’s walking that killer walk, killing people on cue with an almost predictable obsessive compulsive routine, and we see the expected kidnappings, betrayals and body count. The moment of truth arrives in a face-off between McCall and a team of military trained soldiers, in a deserted seaside town during a hurricane that defies belief. Right on cue, Washington pulls it off with his calm and calculating hand.

Let’s face it, it’s just plain fun watching Denzel at over 60 years of age, with more than 50 films under his belt, still kicking ass and taking names. It must be fun for Washington too, because this is his first ever sequel, and don’t be surprised if we see a third.

Rating: MA15+

Duration: 2h 1m

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