The Equalizer 2 is the sequel to the 2014 action-thriller based on the television series of the same name. This story once again follows Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a man who will solve problems for anyone who needs it with his unique set of skills. When his close friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is murdered, McCall will go to great lengths to find those responsible.
I only watched the first Equalizer recently and I was pleasantly surprised – seeing Denzel Washington take names in creative and violent ways while also bringing the dramatic chops that he usually brings. Therefore, I was interested in a sequel because I wanted to see what both Washington and director Antoine Fuqua could bring to the table. Upon finally viewing The Equalizer 2, I can say that the established actor-director duo doesn’t bring much new to the story, but still enough to make this sequel watchable.
On a technical level, The Equalizer 2 is an improvement over its predecessor, but still is not without problems. Between the framing and camera moments, nothing about the direction feels amateurish. The cinematography is also a step up from the original’s. There are several shots in this movie that floored me, specifically toward the end. Harry Gregson-Williams returns to deliver the musical score, which is not bad, but not one that I will remember in a few days. My one technical problem with The Equalizer 2 is that the kills and set pieces are not as inventive or violent this time around, but at least they are well directed.
The performances in The Equalizer 2 are all great, but their respective characters are not as much. Denzel Washington of course shines in the lead role. Even when McCall is kicking so much ass, we, as an audience, are still able to sympathize with him due to how caring he is. I know I would come to him if I needed him to solve my problems. Melissa Leo is also given enough to do before her character unfortunately bites the bullet. Pedro Pascal works with he is given but I don’t like where his character went. Ashton Sanders, best known for playing Chiron in Moonlight, portrays an aspiring artist that McCall takes under his wing. Their dynamic starts out interesting but ends the way I thought it would. The villains are also more forgettable here and feel more so obstacles than actual characters.
Richard Wenk, who wrote the first Equalizer, returns to write the sequel and while the movie addresses problems I had with the original, it still has quite a few flaws. One problem I had with the first Equalizer is that it took way too long for the plot to kick into gear. Thankfully, The Equalizer 2 has better pacing this time around even though it can still drag at points. Another problem I had with the first movie is that it doesn’t give us enough of McCall’s backstory while this one does. Unfortunately, the story becomes predictable and somewhat convoluted at a certain point. It also starts to become more of the same, which is what I was worried about going in.
Verdict: 3 out of 5
The Equalizer 2 does not have the same charm as its predecessor, but it is still watchable regardless. Even with some great direction and another powerhouse from Denzel Washington, there still is not much to love about this movie. Fans of the first entry will probably like it.