The Equalizer 2
The Equalizer 2: Boredom Personified
Movie Review by Madhusudhanan (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
The Equalizer 2 is oddly enough, Denzel Washington’s first foray into sequel territory in his illustrious career which has spanned over 4 decades. Based on the 80s TV series of the same name, the Equalizer 2 is the sequel to the 2014 vigilante action thriller, the Equalizer. Does the sequel live up to the massive expectations setup by Washington’s 4-decade long absence from sequels to his movies? Let’s find out, shall we.
I’m going to be brutally honest with you here, right off the bat. The Equalizer 2 is not a good movie. Forgettable characters, laughable writing, and tasteless violence (often pointless in nature) accentuate this tasteless flick, and it makes you wonder: The first Equalizer was a forgettable action movie, what made audiences think that the second one would be any better?
The answer is, of course, Denzel Washington. Washington’s McCall effortlessly manages to nail his character, and this is the only saving grace of this dull, insipid, and monotonous movie. There are multiple attempts made to draw the audience into the story’s lore and backstory, but they all flat on their face, courtesy of the characters and writing. At no point are the audience given any impetus to care, and root for the characters—as a result, the Equalizer 2 devolves into a one-dimensional revenge/action flick which squanders its lead’s considerable acting prowess.
Robert McCall is a man with a past. A former marine, and defense intelligence agency spy, McCall lives a quiet life under the radar, reading through his deceased wife’s list of books she had desired to read. Presumed dead by his former employers, Susan Plummer (former colleague and friend) is the only one who is aware of McCall’s existence. In a conversation, the depth of their friendship is revealed when it is alluded to that Susan is the only real ‘friend’ that McCall has. There are other storylines such as McCall helping an at-risk youth called Miles (Ashton Sanders) find his way, and another storyline involving a long-lost pair of siblings, but they wind up feeling like filler to pad out the movie’s runtime. The Equalizer 2 goes on for far longer than it has to, and what’s worse, it runs for far longer than it can. There are some genuinely touching moments from the movie’s side storylines, such as McCall playing a surrogate father figure to Miles, and the reunion of the aforementioned brother/sister pair (albeit at the end of the movie)—but as a whole, they wind up feeling sloppy and flat.
In the grand scheme of things, the Equalizer 2 is a story of betrayal and revenge, and a simplistic one at that. One can summarize the entire plot in about 3—4 lines. This lack of narrative depth isn’t necessarily a bad thing, a lot of mindless action movies make do with minimal plot—the Crank series and Shoot Em’ Up come to mind. Making narrative brevity work with interspersed segments of intense action is a tricky thing to pull off, and its fundamental requirement is a strong supporting cast. The audience has to care about the characters surrounding and influencing the protagonist’s being and actions; this is an aspect where the Equalizer 2 falls well short of expectations.
A few weeks back, in one of my earlier reviews, I referred to Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again as a pointless sequel which wasn’t really needed. The Equalizer 2 trumps Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again as the king of unnecessary sequels, and it is indeed weird and mind boggling that Denzel Washington chose to lose his sequel virginity to this dud of a movie.