Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves? – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 51% (Critics) / 74% (Audience)
MetaScore: 49 – Mixed of average reviews
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Written By: Richard Wenk
Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders and Melissa Leo
Studio: Columbia Pictures
The fight scenes in this movie were still as good as they were in the first film. I like the dispassionate but efficiently deadly way that Denzel Washington‘s Robert McCall metes out bloody, violent retribution to evildoers and the violence looks good. It isn’t overly cinematic or even super bloody but it all looks cool and realistic in a movie magic kinda way.
I enjoyed the various subplots of McCall helping out people he interacted with regularly to casual acquaintances as well as perfect strangers. Each of their stories was interesting on their own and probably could have been enough to sustain a full movie if expanded a little more.
I also loved Melissa Leo‘s Susan Plummer. Leo seemed to be having the time of her life playing the veteran spook and closest friend to McCall in all the world and she even got to do some butt-kicking for a little while herself. Too bad this is her last time playing this character in the movie series because I really do think there was a lot of potential left for Plummer and Leo would have more than likely knocked anything they gave her to do out of the park.
There is nothing new or daring about anything in THE EQUALIZER 2. Antoine Fuqua delivers a straightforward, no frills bit of direction and the script hits all the beats one would expect from a revenge film. Even Washington seems to be phoning things in more often than not. The only times his performance of McCall comes to life is when he is killing people or playing games of cat and mouse with people he will be killing in the future.
Killing Melissa Leo’s character was also a huge mistake because aside from Leo seeming to be the actor who was most enjoying herself in this movie, it removed a character that I was totally intrigued by in the first EQUALIZER and was hoping to see more of in future movies in the franchise. There was another character who could have been the murder victim who propelled the film’s plot and would have been a much easier character to part with than Leo’s was.
The entire subplot with Washington and Ashton Sanders‘ Miles (the neighbor kid with potential that McCall takes under his wing) could have been left on the cutting room floor. The character of Miles seemed to exist primarily to be a hostage that the bad guys could use against McCall and the stuff about Miles getting away from the drug dealing gangs in the neighborhood was just clumsy and heavy-handed.
What type of strategic genius picks a town that was in the process of being emergency evacuated because of an oncoming hurricane as the best spot to have a confrontation with the team of guys who are out to kill him? Because I would say a terrible strategist would do something like that yet that is exactly what McCall does to set up the final confrontation with his enemies and it made no sense.
Final Verdict: At times THE EQUALIZER 2 shows glimpses of capitalizing on the good things it started in the original film but in the end it just ends up being a one note, standard revenge thriller that seems content with just being OK instead of being something more.