The Equalizer 2
dir Antoine Fuqua
scr Richard Wenk
prd Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Denzel Washington, Alex Siskin, Steve Tisch, Antoine Fuqua, Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge, Michael Sloan
with Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Orson Bean, Bill Pullman, Jonathan Scarfe, Kazy Tauginas, Garrett Golden, Sakina Jaffrey, Tamara Hickey, Karen Strong
release US 20.Jul.18, UK 17.Aug.18
18/US Columbia 2h01
The Equalizer 2
Righting wrongs: Washington and Sanders

pascal leo pullman
See also:
The Equalizer (2014) The Equalizer 3 (2023)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Equalizer 2 It's difficult to escape the feeling that this film was only made was to so Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua could work together for a fourth time. It's another slick thriller, focussing on drama rather than action as it slowly churns through a multi-thread plot. The acting is first-rate and the production values a little over-slick, so it'll just about do the trick for a couple of hours of pseudo-thoughtful entertainment.

McCall (Washington) has just returned from a Bond-style undercover mission to Turkey when he gets pulled into a suspicious double-murder in Brussels. Working from home in Boston, he connects with his old CIA boss Susan (Leo) and former colleague Dave (Pascal), who are on-site. But things take a nasty turn, and McCall now needs to keep one step ahead of goons who are after him. Meanwhile, he's teaching his teen neighbour Miles (Sanders) to straighten out his life, while also helping his Lyft passenger Sam (Bean) solve a mystery from his past.

Thankfully, screenwriter Wenk doesn't connect the story strands, even if two collide to fuel the big finale in an abandoned town as a convenient hurricane strikes. Yes, there's nothing very subtle about the writing here, and the plot cycles through virtually every trope imaginable on its way to the expected conclusion. Along the way, the filmmakers deploy tools of the trade like lingering grief, frustration at bad decisions and even a hint of topicality in a private government contractor.

Washington brings a wry sense of humour to the role this time, offering some pithy banter and a few offhanded moments of humanity. Otherwise, every scene has been carefully tailored to eliminate any earthy authenticity. But the actors are all good enough to deliver this kind of too-serious dialog. Pascal has a nicely unsettled sensibility that makes the character intriguing, while Sanders provides some badly needed unpolished soulfulness.

There's never a moment when the audience worries about where this might go. Denzel is clearly in charge, so we can sit back as he solves each problem with almost supernatural skill. If there was a little more texture to the script, it might have been satisfying, but Fuqua smooths over all of the edges, explains people and places with cliched shorthand and never quite gets a grip on the hand-to-hand action. So like McCall himself, the movie comes and goes without a trace.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 19.Jul.18

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