Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?
Equalizer 2 the follow up to the 2014 film comes to cinemas this week, continuing the film franchise based on the TV series of the 80’s from director Antoine Fuqua. This film brings back a number of the previous cast members and seeks to continue and develop some of these characters in new directions.
While there’s been fair attention given to maintaining continuity of the series, this level of care doesn’t extend however to the plot of the film, from writer Richard Wenk (who has previously worked on the Jack Reacher and Expendables film) the writing here meanders and dawdles to a frustrating degree.
The film lacks any ability to weave together events and story in a manner which is engaging, or of interest. Where the writing does perform better however is with its central character, his mannerisms, and minor details add something to the film by delivering a strong well defined character who if nothing else is entertaining to watch.
The opening act is very much a slow burn in terms of building intrigue or story momentum, and when the film does begin to drive its central story thread it still remains unfocused, lacking a cohesive narrative, and character sub-plots seemingly peppered throughout the entire film leaving the flow haphazard at best. When it does finally find some focus and bring forth its villain for our protagonist to deal with, it’s generic and uninspired.
It’s a lacklustre film however it is headlined by an excellent actor in Denzel Washington who delivers a grounded and tough character convincingly. He’s not stretching his acting skills by any means but he delivers the gritty fight scenes, and action sequences with conviction and it serves the film well. Continuing the trend of the original film, Equalizer 2 is packed with brutal fights, and messy death scenes and in this sense there’s still a lot of entertainment value to be found here.
Action is certainly where the film is at its best, the highlight is easily an extensive set piece in the final act which makes great use of the environment in crafting together a series of fight sequences in a small island location. This is a well shot sequence, which utilises the surrounding environment and pulls together some suspense, violent fights and entertaining deaths so that the film goes out on its strongest note.
Equalizer 2 has a sound cast supporting it beyond Washington, with Pedro Pascal, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo to name a few. The script however does very little with any of them so they are hard pressed to leave much of an impact with the material at their disposal. There are long stretches where some of the support cast aren’t seen, and when they do reappear their relevance is so minimal it almost seems pointless.
That said, the Equalizer 2 still manages to elevate itself higher than it deserves through a dedicated lead performer, and a skilled director who crafts some fun and entertaining action scenes specifically for those who enjoy the brutal kills to characters who deserve it. But ultimately it’s some fun scenes against a flimsy film and will be easily forgotten.
I’m giving The Equalizer 2, 6 out of 10, you can see it in cinemas now.