Friday, July 20, 2018

The Equalizer 2 - Review

In a cinematic world of sequels and franchises, it’s no surprise that actors seek to get their name at the top of poster for their own action series. Doing so is not a frowned upon choice, a lot of iconic roles are born from somewhat mindless action films becoming more than the good first film. Most recently, Liam Neeson had a great career resurgence with the Taken films, springing him into other movies of the same caliber. Thus, it only makes sense that Denzel Washington would sign up for the first sequel of his long career with The Equalizer 2.

If you have a problem and there is nowhere else to turn, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) will deliver the vigilante justice you seek. This time, however, McCall's past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) -- his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins who'll stop at nothing to destroy him.

While not exactly expected to be deeply enthralling in any way, the story for an action film needs to at least keep one engaged during the quieter moments. When the highly trained and lethal McCall isn’t shooting bad guys, the audience needs to be able to stick with the film until he picks up the gun again. The Equalizer 2 does not manage this whatsoever, as it lulls you to sleep with exposition from a lazy excuse for a plot. In fairly typical fashion, as it goes in most any film where an ex-partner is involved, a betrayal takes place, setting in motion a string of action scenes strung together by this thin plot line.

Denzel Washington is absolutely tremendous in just about every film he signs onto. Hell, even the films he gives less than 100% on result in a performance that is better than other actors could hope for. But even the somewhat furious Washington can’t save The Equalizer 2 from being absolutely and irrefutably dull.

However, there are moments of potential in the action. Unfortunately, the film lets most of them slip by, opting for clichés instead of anything clever, and making this overlong film blend in with all of the other forgettable action movies that come out in any given year. The climax is the prime example of clichés running rampant. Please stop me if you’ve heard this before: the hero faces off against a squad of highly trained and heavily armed men that he proceeds to eliminate with precision that can only be matched by the Terminator himself. Oh, and it’s raining the whole time.

Overall, The Equalizer 2 does not measure up to the first film even slightly. Washington is still good, with flashes of great, but everything surrounding his performance is undercooked. There’s enough there that it could make for excellent background noise should you stumble upon it on cable on a rainy Sunday afternoon, but it certainly is not worth a trip to the theater. 

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