Friday, August 3, 2018

Movie Review: "The Equalizer 2" (2018)

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

Robert McCall continues to dish out his signature brand of justice while working as a Lyft driver. When a friend of his is killed, he focuses his attention on finding out who did it and getting revenge. 

"I got your name on a piece of paper in my pocket. That's all that matters." (Image Source)
Robert McCall is sort of like Batman if Batman wasn't a billionaire, and instead, he worked as a Lyft driver. "The Equalizer 2" is the sequel to the original "The Equalizer" from 2014. Returning as director for this film is Antoine Fuqua, who besides directing the original has directed such movies as "The Magnificent Seven" remake and "Training Day." Also returning as the writer of this TV-to-movie adaptation is Richard Wenk, who has worked on films like "The Expendables 2" and "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back." After taking on the Russian mob in the first film, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has returned to leading his simple life. He now works as a Lyft driver in Boston and likes to help people out, which means occasionally beating the shit out of some unsavory characters who assault women. When his friend Susan (Melissa Leo) is attacked and murdered overseas on a work trip, Robert beings his own investigation to seek vengeance and exact revenge on whoever killed her.
"There are no good and bad people anymore, no enemies, only unfortunates." (Image Source)
People who are fans of the original "The Equalizer" (like us!) know what they wanted from this sequel: Denzel Washington as Robert McCall kicking unbelievable amounts of ass for two hours. When we do get to see McCall killing baddies left and right, it's unbelievably gruesome and awesome. This film is still as gratuitously violent as its predecessor, perhaps even a little more so, which is sure to please "Equalizer" devotees. McCall packs a wallop of a punch and is quick with a gun in his hand. His ability to predict what will happen and when is unbelievable but oh-so-pleasing.

Unfortunately, there's also a lot of weak and predictable storytelling that is full of cliches. The parts of the film where McCall isn't beating the crap out of someone or giving an inspirational talk are a little dull, a bit too drawn out, and sort of underwhelming. Speaking of inspirational speeches, a new subplot has been added featuring one of McCall's neighbors named Miles (Moonlight's Ashton Sanders). McCall has taken Miles under his wing and sets out on a personal quest to put him on the right path and help him steer clear of any neighborhood shenanigans. Of course, predictability rears its ugly head in the last portion of the film where this new character is concerned. The whodunit aspect of this sequel is also painfully evident within the first few minutes of the movie starting. That being said, we feel like there are enough times when McCall is arm-breaking, neck-cranking, and doing Batman-levels-of-outwitting for us to say that the movie is more entertaining than not. Denzel Washington is as charming as ever and is excellent in the role of Robert McCall. Sure, there are moments where it is blatantly obvious that a stunt double is being used in some fight scenes, but we can't expect that the 63-year-old Washington is doing all of these big stunts by himself no matter how good he looks for his age. Pedro Pascal also gives a great performance as Dave, a former colleague of McCall's. It's great to see Pascal getting more film deals.
"We all gotta pay for our sins." (Image Source)
If you liked the original "Equalizer," chances are, you will enjoy "The Equalizer 2" even if it's not quite as impressive, as competent, or as badass as its predecessor. Denzel Washington is still in tip-top form here, which made this sequel good enough for us.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~49%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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