The Equalizer 2 is a sequel to the hardcore original.
Those who enjoyed Denzel Washington’s slick performance may be disappointed.
Antoine Fuqua’s production taps into the same theme; if you exploit the innocent, harm the oppressed or abandon your code of conscience, Robert McCall will be at hand to set things right and severely punish you.
While this is all very well, the film’s key motivation is not clear.
The main villains are a special government ops team up to no good, and their face-off with McCall, who is badly outnumbered, takes place during a hurricane at a seaside resort, with echoes of Hurricane Heist.
The plot is blurred here, making the film largely empty, tiresome and for the most part uninteresting. Fuqua’s often haphazard storytelling removes the grim pleasure of watching Denzel’s methodical slayings, where he cunningly uses whatever tools are at his disposal.
It’s difficult to appreciate this hero’s crafty planning when we are unable to register what exactly is being crafted.
Overall, though, there is satisfaction observing McCall impassively dispense his form of justice; whether it’s against tie-wearing Boston finance brothers who abuse a young woman, a gang goading his neighbour (Ashton Sanders) into a life of crime, or in the film’s prologue, where he deals with angry Turks on a train from Istanbul.
He is the sort of hero in the mould of Arnold and Sylvester and audiences will root for him in the same way.
Denzel Washington is a skilled enough practitioner to convince in the action department, but he doesn’t need to stretch his abilities much to flesh out McCall, a quietly-spoken, book-reading individual who cares about his fellow man. It’s a role he takes in his stride.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Cast: Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Classification: 16 LVD