When I reviewed “The Equalizer” in 2014, I wrote:
Movie quiz: You’re watching an action movie. The hero walks into a room, alone and unarmed, and encounters a half-dozen bad guys, all holding guns, knives, and other weapons. What happens? If you don’t know that, by the end of the scene, the bad guys will all be dead and the hero will walk away with nothing more than a flesh wound, then you know nothing about action movies.
I predicted at the end of that review that there would be a sequel, and now there is (a first for Denzel Washington). He returns as Robert McCall, a retired black-ops CIA operative who’s trying to live a quiet life as a Lyft driver in Boston, but can’t help getting involved and putting his career skills to use when he sees someone being wronged and/or harmed.
Unfortunately, “The Equalizer 2” is just as predictable as its predecessor. I won’t bother to reveal any plot points, but my comments from 2014 also apply here, with this addition: if you don’t know who the bad guy is after a mere twenty minutes, again, you haven’t seen enough action movies.
Director Antoine Fuqua (who collaborated with Denzel on “Training Day” and their remake of “The Magnificent Seven”) returns to helm this one exactly as he did the original. There are too many edits in the fight scenes, which happen so quickly we often can’t see what’s happened). He over-uses slow-motion for dramatic effect. And the finale takes place in a hurricane for no reason (unless it’s to remind us of one of Denzel’s better roles).
The supporting cast includes Melissa Leo (one of my favorite actresses, so good on the Showtime series “I’m Dying Up Here”) back as McCall’s former boss at The Agency, Bill Pullman as her husband, Ashton Sanders (so much better here than as the young Chiron in “Moonlight”), and Orson Bean (still acting at age 90 and married to “Wonder Years” mom Alley Mills).
Interestingly, Denzel’s son, John David Washington, stars in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which opens in St. Louis in three weeks. I’ve seen it, but can’t post my review until then. Considering that the original “Equalizer” made $192 million at the box office, the sequel will still be around next month, so the two Washingtons will be on competing screens in many theaters.
As for the elder Washington’s movie, I give it a 5 out of 10.
Previously on Harris Online…