BEIRUT: It is quite an interesting experience jumping into a sequel film having not seen its predecessor, however, in the case of Antoine Fuqua’s THE EQUALIZER 2, the narrative’s past isn’t that hard to figure out.
Robert McCall, the Equalizer, has been aiding the beaten, exploited, and oppressed by serving an unflinching justice. But when McCall’s dangerous past cuts especially close to home, he will need all of his skills to settle the score. This time, he must come face to face with highly trained assassins who will stop at nothing to destroy him.
The noteworthy thing about The Equalizer 2 is the 2: its the first sequel of Denzel Washington’s career.
This is more of a personal journey for McCall because it’s about what happens to people that he’s allowed into his life. He was a man who wasn’t going to allow anyone in his life, and now, when he opens up to a couple people, it’s not good.
In THE EQUALIZER 2, many of McCall’s secrets are revealed – his training, his skills, his wife, his relationship with Susan Plummer.
McCall’s dark justice vigilantism is an intriguing concept in a world where mankind seems to want to take justice into its own hands.
The action sequences are the film’s highlights, which is sad due to the human element subplots coming off as forced and inorganic.
Antoine’s style of action is so unique and specific, and when you can merge that with a great story, it works.
The film is almost like an accordion, Antoine knows when to bring it together and he knows when to pull it apart; he knows when to make it loud and when to make it quiet, which is where the film is the strongest.
Following the trend of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT much of THE EQUALIZER 2 is practical up until the final sequence which occurs during a category five hurricane, and somehow didn’t feel as convincing.
The performances in this film are quite impressive.
Denzel Washington delivers quite a memorable performance, and so do the rest of the cast, but the stand out here is young Ashton Saunders.
Saunders, who first appeared on the screen in Oscar-winning film Moonlight, brings forth a raw and real performance of a young African American man who is struggling with leading a good life as an artist.
The majority of the film’s themes come from the surrogate father/son relationship between Washington’s McCall and Saunders’s Miles.
Miles is McCall’s path to redemption and this character journey is another echo of the themes in LOGAN, and SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO: older, cynical, and scarred men who find redemption through younger counterparts.
Yet, somewhere within the construct of this narrative, there was something lacking and somewhat predictable.
Even with the intensity of some of the storyline – the panic room sequence to be exact – one could tell the outcome of that scene from a mile away.
With that in mind, it was rather refreshing to see a film with strong ideologies of justice, vengeance, what it means to be a man, and the never-ending fight between good and evil are the backbone of the film.
THE EQUALIZER 2 is a good but hollow entry into the world of the Equalizer and there is no doubt that there could be another volume in a few years, there is clearly more story to tell.
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