I was supposed to review Skyscraper recently but I didn’t, sue me. Basically it wasn’t good for a number of reasons but I believe its greatest affront was its overwhelming predictability combined with a complete lack of entertaining action sequences and characters that were as dull as a paperclip in an office building. What they failed at doing is making it entertaining despite its predictable nature. Just because you can tell what’s going to happen two steps ahead the entire runtime doesn’t mean the movie can’t still be a fun time. The creators of The Equalizer and now its sequel have fully grasped the concept that their movies aren’t groundbreaking mindbenders but still have the qualities of well made films whose single purpose is to entertain and in this regard The Equalizer franchise surpasses the requirements of a fun, summertime movie(s) with flying colors.
If you enjoyed the first Equalizer film then you already know what you want in a sequel and so do the creators and they were more than happy to give it to you. It’s more of the same and while that can certainly be a damning statement, when it comes to Denzel Washington kicking ass and taking names it just works. It’s like he gives a ridiculous premise like this the grounding it desperately needs to work on any kind of level. He is charismatic in the slower scenes with equal parts tenderness and caring that he effortlessly switches into a man seemingly possessed by brutal vengeance. He balances this line beautifully, convincingly and I think most importantly constantly as the role of Robert McCall is one of quiet anger and restlessness. That balance is what makes the character so intriguing and it’s what makes us root for him to find the justice against those that normally escape consequence for their deplorable actions. He is that consequence and that’s just bad ass.
Much like the first what rounds out the character of McCall is his unwavering yearning to do good in whatever form presented to him. Whether it’s removing graffiti from an apartment building or keeping a young man away from a life of violence his motivations don’t always require his talents as an assassin but simply a man who cares and has the means to help. And then when he needs to he can slice open a man’s face with a credit card because he just has it like that.
As I compared this to Skyscraper I was speaking of the predictability but with The Equalizer 2 its predictability is overshadowed by memorable performances from its cast (particularly Washington), an entertaining premise to motivate the hero, and an important factor for a film like this, the kills are plentiful and satisfying as hell. Killing is bad, I get it but when Denzel Washington shoots an obvious bad guy point blank in the face multiple times it’s just… awesome. Let’s all be honest with ourselves and admit that’s why we watch movies like this, to see the baddies get theirs. With Washington in the lead and Antoine Fuqua behind the camera what you get is entertaining violence that is gratuitous at times but never without a sense of fun so that it and anyone watching don’t take this all too seriously. Giggle at the guy getting his noggin nearly removed and hope the next encounter is just as viscerally engaging. It’s okay, you can smile at all the violence, we’re all a little fucked up. I won’t tell…
With a personal friend murdered, McCall’s desire to right the wrongs of the world has never been more bloodthirsty. Systematically he takes out those responsible and as we follow along we are front row to a plethora of memorable deaths, funny jokes, humanizing moments of tender interaction and a charismatic performance from the always captivating Denzel Washington. You know what this is, you know what’s going to happen, embrace it and enjoy the damn ride. These are seasoned actors and filmmakers just having fun making an action movie for the adults who want that unchallenging escape from everyday life. The Equalizer 2 is an absolute crowd pleaser and I for one hope that a third film is on the horizon. (That said I think this franchise could continue if Washington chooses to bow out of future installments by taking the story back to the early days of Robert McCall featuring a young actor taking on the role. I know Washington is a major selling point here but I still think it could work.)
Rated R For: brutal violence throughout, language, and some drug content
Runtime: 121 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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