HOLLYWOOD—Sequels, they come a dime a dozen in Hollywood, well let’s be honest it’s the only thing Hollywood seems to think is a surefire bet nowadays. However, how many sequels have you seen that have actually been better than the predecessor? There are not many and now you can add another sequel to the list, one that I never expected to see the day of light. That sequel is “The Equalizer 2.” Yes, Denzel Washington, who portrayed Robert McCall, a retired CIA Black Ops operative is back to kick more ass and avenge those who are not able to protect themselves.
I loved the 2014 flick, “The Equalizer” because the audience got the opportunity to see a layered character. One with extreme fighting skills, one who seemed to have a purpose, and a character that was not always easy to understand his methodology or reasoning for doing the things he did. That films success ultimately led to Universal Pictures asking for a sequel. I mean we’ve never seen Washington in a sequel, and based on the results of this entry, I’m not certain we will see him in another.
The biggest question you might be asking is rather “The Equalizer 2” is better than the first. The answer is no, but it has some solid selling points. My biggest frustration is I believe this film has a narrative that is not as sharp, intuitive or enthralling as its predecessor. With the first flick, I had an idea of why our protagonist was doing what he did. This time around it feels like the script was attempting to push an agenda that just doesn’t work as fluidly as I hoped.
Our character who is still retired, has now taken on the role as a Lyft driver helping those in his orbit who continue to question who he ‘is.’ The narrative delves into the relationship between McCall and his pal Susan Plummer portrayed by Oscar-winner Melissa Leo. Both Plummer and McCall share a past with DIA Operative Dave York (Pedro Pascal). The one sucky thing about the teasers for this flick is the audience is well aware that Susan meets her maker and that is the driving force of most of the film. Is it lackluster? Yes, considering the first film had more twists and turns along the way personally speaking.
With “The Equalizer 2,” there are surprises, but they are not as exciting as the first time around. It’s like the past comes back to haunt you, but for the spectator it seems to appear out of left field and because of that it takes a bit of time to adjust to the mayhem. However, once the viewer is immersed in the narrative that takes a bit of time to start going, you’re in for the entire ride. Make no mistake, the action sequences are fantastic, who would ever suspect Washington, at the age of 63, is still able to deliver such riveting stunts and fights sequences, with some of the best in the industry.
It is fun as hell to watch, and the brutality and violence connected to McCall’s antics are cringe-worthy. You will squint a few times in the theater seat so be prepared. Director Antoine Fuqua, who helmed the predecessor and directed Washington in his Oscar-winning role in “Training Day,” does a solid job with the sequel. There is a bit of stalling in the second act that takes a bit of time to regain its footing which could lose some audience members attention.
You will be entertained by “The Equalizer 2,” but do not expect a sequel that will blow your mind. I can already see a third installment in the franchise in the near future, but that is ONLY if Washington is willing to dance in the role yet again, which I’m not so certain he will.