Se­quel still equal to the task

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - AT THE MOVIES - MARK KENNEDY

YOU WON’T usu­ally find Den­zel Wash­ing­ton in a movie se­quel. He just doesn’t do them. Some­thing about not want­ing to re­peat him­self. So there must be some­thing spe­cial in­deed for him to break his own rule for The Equal­izer 2.

Fans of the first film will in­stantly know why Wash­ing­ton is drawn to the char­ac­ter of Robert Mc­Call, a quiet mid­dle-aged re­tired spe­cial-ops agent, who fiercely be­lieves in jus­tice, likes to help others and dis­penses the oc­ca­sional lethal judg­ment for those de­serv­ing.

“We all have to pay for our sins,” he tells a group of bad guys in the new edi­tion, be­fore vow­ing to hunt each one dead. His only re­gret? He can kill them only once.

Mc­Call first ap­peared in the mid-1980s on TV, with Ed­ward Wood­ward play­ing him as a bit of an English dandy.

In the film se­ries, Wash­ing­ton plays Mc­Call as a tad ob­ses­sive­com­pul­sive. He’s the kind of guy who brings his own tea bag to a res­tau­rant in a neatly folded nap­kin and ar­ranges the cut­lery just so. But, when prompted, his vi­sion be­comes hy­per-clear and he metic­u­lously pre-plans ev­ery step in tak­ing down a room of thugs, of­ten with­out a gun.

In the first film, a hooker with a heart of gold pulls Mc­Call out of re­tire­ment when she is badly beaten by her pimp. By the end, Mc­Call has blown up most of Bos­ton’s wa­ter­front, ex­posed a nest of cor­rupt lo­cal cops and sys­tem­at­i­cally ex­e­cuted ev­ery mem­ber of a Rus­sian gang, even go­ing to Moscow to fin­ish the job.

The sec­ond film takes place some­time later, with Mc­Call now a Lyft driver, se­lec­tively help­ing peo­ple he en­coun­ters.

Few peo­ple could pull off this cheesy saint­hood like Wash­ing­ton, ooz­ing charisma and self-as­sured mas­culin­ity.

The film some­what con­fus­ingly tog­gles through var­i­ous ini­tial threads be­fore land­ing on the main one – some­one cru­cial to Mc­Call’s murky past is mur­dered in Brus­sels and that re­veals a bar­rel of bad gov­ern­ment ap­ples. Fuqua is a lyri­cal di­rec­tor, who di­rected Wash­ing­ton to an Os­car in Train­ing Day. He’s not afraid to spend time in the still dark­ness with Mc­Call and likes to fo­cus on small moody el­e­ments. But he can also de­liver red meat: A se­quence in which Mc­Call fights off a pas­sen­ger in the back seat of his car is a mini-mas­ter­piece of taut, sinewy di­rec­tion.

The Equal­izer is a guilty plea­sure for any­one who en­joys that old-school, blue-col­lar Amer­i­can chival­ric hero, with a dark past. – AP

Den­zil Wash­ing­ton reprises his role as Robert Mc­Call in­The Equal­izer 2.

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