Sequel still equal to the task
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.