Review: The Equalizer 2
Denzel Washington and Antione Fuqua join forces for the fourth time with this sequel to their 2014 action film.
Like its predecessor, the film is based upon the 1980s TV, which starred Edward Woodward as the former intelligence agent turned hired avenger for those in desperate need of a hard-hitting hero.
In truth, the 2014 reboot owes more to Michael Winner’s ‘Death Wish’ than the show, and was a passable if not very familiar thriller that added little to the genre. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, placing itself proudly amongst the line of dadsploitation flicks that have emerged in the wake of Liam Neeson’s ‘Taken’ franchise.
The film picks up where we left Robert ‘The Equalizer’ McCall at the end of the first instalment. From the first few seconds we know that we are in for more of the same, which depending on how you feel about the first film, is either a blessing or a sign that it’s going to be a very long two-hours.
The nippy opening scene sees McCall disguised, quite dubiously, as a Muslim traveller on a train in Turkey. Through Washington’s monotone delivery we understand that he is there to rescue a kidnapped girl from her abusive father. He beats up the baddies in his standard wooden-faced composure which is meant to pass for looking like a total badass, but ends up looking very lethargic when performed by a slightly droopy 63-year-old. No disrespect meant to Mr. Washington here, but the action scenes in this film are not helped by his advancing age or the editing, but more on that later. Despite this you feel that the tone is properly set: all action and little talk. Sadly, you’ve been misled.
Following the opening credits we then get over an hour of McCall dealing with subplots that add little to the film, apart from its length. In-between the occasional fight scene – the best of which is shown in the trailer in its entirety – McCall has to deal with two fairly dull sub-plots, the first being a Jewish Holocaust survivor fighting against the system. The second, and perhaps the most vexing since it invades what’s meant to be the central plot, is the street-talking bad boy with the heart of gold and a suppressed need for self-expression cliche.
Tropes like this are common enough in Hollywood action flicks, but the amount of time that is spent on these two rather boring and frankly embarrassing sub-plots is thoroughly distracting. Worse still, it means that less time is spent on the main plot which focuses on the action and the fighting, arguably what the whole point of seeing this film is about. Coming out of the screen I understood more about the subplots than about the villainous scheme. Not that it’s particularly complicated; it’s just hardly mentioned in comparison to all the other rubbish. McCall’s best friend, Susan, is killed, and that should be the prime if not the entire focus. Instead it ends up becoming something of a footnote.
By the time we get to the final shootout on the seaside, in the middle of a hurricane no less, we’ve dealt with so much exposition from stories that matter very little, we’re ready for the thing to be over and done with.
Irritatingly ponderous and unconvincing. Save yourself some time and pass on both the first and second instalments. A better option would be to go and buy the original show and give it the attention it deserves. If you’re really hankering for something from the dadsploitation genre, go back to ‘Taken’ or try Pierce Brosnan’s ‘The November Man’.