This analogy has been used by me before – but the best way to sum up this sequel is like John Wick compared to John Wick 2.
The first Equalizer was a very impressive, taut and refined outing, compared to a slightly more expansive, but ultimately less-refined follow up.
Just like John Wick was to John Wick 2.
There’s still much to enjoy here as we get more of Denzel Washington’s ex-marine vigilante with a conscience Robert McCall – in Oscar-winner Washington’s first sequel of his career.
He’s continuing with a multitude of do-gooding endeavours, finding justice for the exploited and oppressed, from rescuing an exiled girl from Turkey, exacting vengeance on a raped girl – all with his trademark stop-watch takedowns – and trying to help a holocaust victim look for his sister. The scenes where action dominates work far better than the latter, where his good samaritan deeds affect the pacing of the film.
This slowly opens the plot to his best friend Susan Plummer (Oscar-winner Melissa Leo, The Fighter) – who gets murdered after investigating a mysterious killing in Brussels – which leads to McCall investigating.
Along the way he reaches out to his former partner Dave York (Pedro Pascal), who is caught up in the investigation – and this ultimately leads to a stand-off finale between McCall and four deadly assailants in his seaside hometown as things quickly go south.
At the same time – in a worthy side story – he’s trying to keep artist-wannabe youngster Miles (Ashton Sanders) on the straight and narrow, discouraging him from entering a stereotypical world of crime.
But why this second instalment doesn’t quite come together in a coherent fashion that the highly-regardedoriginal established – there’s enough of the same spark in fits and starts for fans of the first film to savour.
It does up end more like a catalogue of several Robert McCall intertwining set-pieces to capitalise on the character’s popularity than a particularly memorable story – but there’s just about enough here to leave your appetite whetted for a potential trilogy completion.
And while it doesn’t exactly equalise with the first – Washington’s personality always keeps the crosshairs firmly in the watchable zone.
Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, Jonathan Scarfe, Kazy Tauginas, Garrett Golden, Sakina Jaffrey & Orson Bean
Running Time: 2 Hrs1 Min
Director: Antoine Fuqua
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