Back in 2014, Antoine Fuqua, the director of films such as Training Day, Tears of the Sun, and Shooter, teamed with Denzel Washington to make The Equalizer.  Based loosely on the hit 1980s television series, the film followed  Robert McCall, a former Black Ops operative who uses his skills to help  the innocent while waging war against the Russian Mafia. The film was a  box office success, and was enjoyed by both critics and audiences alike,  praising it for its acting, action, and unique visual style. Now, both  Washington and Fuqua team up again to bring audiences The Equalizer 2, making it the first time Washington has returned for a sequel.

Image from IMDb

Taking place some time after the first film, it follows McCall  (Washington) who now works as a Lyft driver. He continues to help out  people in trouble, with the aid of his old friend, Susan Plummer  (Melissa Leo).  However, when Plummer goes to investigate an apparent  murder-suicide in Brussels, along with intelligence agent David York  (Pedro Pascal), she ends up being murdered. The sudden murder motivates  McCall to investigate and uncover it, all while being followed by the  same people who were responsible for Susan’s murder.

Like the previous film, one of its major strengths is its acting.  Denzel Washington, once again, brings usual talent and charisma to the  role of Robert McCall. His performance makes McCall a likable and  engaging lead as we follow him helping out people and investigating  Susan’s murder. We also get more insight into McCall’s past, including  how he use to have a wife around the time he left the life of an  operative. Another standout performance goes to Pedro Pascal as David  York. Looking almost unrecognizable in the role, Pascal also makes York a  friendly and likable character, who also has a past with McCall in  working in the field together. As the plot unfolds, the characteristics  of these two leads make the twists and turns all the more shocking and  dramatic.

Another strength of the film is McCall’s interactions with the people  he helps, which make up two of the film’s subplots. The first revolves  around McCall helping an elderly Holocaust survivor named Samuel recover  a painting of his sister that was separated from him. The other subplot  revolves around McCall helping a troubled youth named Miles Whittaker,  who has an artistic talent, go along the right path and make the right  choices in life. The subplot with Miles, however, comes off as the more  engaging one, especially because of the relationship between McCall and  Miles.

Image from IMDb

The mainstay and most exciting part of the film, however, would have  to be its intense action sequences. Like in the first film, McCall  rarely uses guns throughout the movie, preferring to use his hands,  combat skills, and whatever he has at his disposal. This makes for  interesting and tense fight scenes, where McCall makes notice of his  surrounding before going into action. Like the first film, the climax  involves a game of cat and mouse between McCall and a group of heavily  armed pursuers. This film, however, ups the ante by having the  confrontation take place in a seaside town about to be hit by a  hurricane.

However, the film suffers from some problems, namely in plot and  pacing. The main plot surrounding McCall investigating Susan’s murder is  nothing to write home about. It does not come off as interesting or  engaging as the subplot surrounding Miles, as well as not having nearly  enough screen time devoted to it. The problems with the plot ties into  its other problem, its pacing. It feels slow to watch, namely with the  amount of time devoted to its main plot as well as its subplots.  However, the pacing does pick up again in the last quarter of the movie,  making up for the slow paced film.

Featured image from JustKillingTime

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