I had never connected the dots that Denzel Washington has never made a sequel. Never. So I was kind of surprised when his first sequel ever would be to The Equalizer, a surprise hit from 2014. Will they be able to get more juice from this storyline? Let’s see.
We follow Robert “Mac” McCall (Denzel Washington) as he now serves as a Lyft driver that takes interest in the lives of his riders. He has a history of work in the military and with the government, including drop-ins by some of his old colleagues, including Melissa Leo and her husband played by Bill Pullman. They’re investigating a mysterious murder that Mac may be able to help with. We also have Pedro Pascal (Narcos, Game of Thrones) as an FBI agent also looking into the case and Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) as a neighbor of Mac’s that gets involved in some dangerous stuff that Mac must help him with.
This movie, like the first, is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day).
The character of Mac isn’t really a unique character, we’ve seen plenty of “former military badasses” who defend the helpless, but Denzel still manages to make this character likeable and an absolute badass, anchored by some great action scenes. People are campaigning for a McCall / John Wick crossover and I would be absolutely down for that combo.
This film also manages to make the supporting cast three-dimensional. The standout is Anton Sanders, who was incredible in Moonlight. Here, he’s the neighborhood kid who’s gotten into some bad stuff, but Sanders manages to give this character a depth that’s appreciated and believable.
The other standout is Pedro Pascal as the FBI agent Dave York. He gets surprisingly a lot to do, especially in the second half of the movie, and he proves again that he’s a rising star.
I mentioned the action already a bit, but this movie’s climax is especially very cool. Just like how the first film had a memorable final battle inside a “Home Mart” (aka Home Depot), this film also has a unique and memorable climax, incorporating something I’d never have expected here. It’s not entirely realistic but it’s definitely entertaining.
For my taste, the movie was just a little too long. The climax was great but it felt a little sluggish to get to that point. You may find your mind wandering until it kicks into gear.
Also, the details of the main plot involving these mysterious murders is a little confusing, so if you’re the type of person to be concerned with details and logic, this might frustrate you. It did me. Just sit back and enjoy, don’t think too much about how the plot progresses.
Equalizer 2 is a solid film, giving Denzel Washington another chance to shine as Robert McCall. If you care about the little details, the plot may confuse you a bit, so this movie is best if you turn that part of your brain off and just enjoy the thrill. The action is great, there’s a surprising amount of heart, and the movie culminates with a truly unique final sequence.