Released in 2014, The Equalizer succeeded to surprise when the movie, that has again involved movie director Antoine Fuqua with actor Denzel Washington, after their collaboration on Training Day (2001), achieved quite large commercial success - although it received mediocre reactions from worldwide movie critics. With “only” US$73 million production cost, The Equalizer was able to make more than US$192 million profit during its release period all over the world. No wonder that Columbia Pictures has assigned Fuqua to lead The Equalizer sequel production and, of course, has chosen Washington as the main star. With a movie script written again by Richard Wenk (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, 2016), will the TV-series adapted movie repeat its success?
After many conflicts told in the first sequel, the main character, who is a former Navy and former secret agent for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Robert McCall (Washington) now lives a quiet life in the suburbs and works as an online taxi driver. However, still, in the midst of his common life, Robert McCall often helps people around him in secret with the help of his former work partner, Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo). His peaceful life ends abruptly when Robert McCall receives a phone call from Susan Plummer’s husband, Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman), informing that his wife had passed away during a robbery. The loss of a dear friend is not easy to deal with. Despite his grief and with his intelligence skills, Robert McCall realized something odd in the death of Susan Plummer.
Like what’s displayed in the first sequel, The Equalizer 2 has again portrayed Robert McCall, played by Washington, as a tough man (read: hero) who is capable to face or fight a line of enemies - which is similar to character Bryan Mills played by Liam Neeson in sequels Taken (2008-2014). There aren’t many differences in the script by Wenk or Fuqua’s directing from the Taken sequels when compared to The Equalizer. Although it gives more depth of the main character, for some reason Wenk and Fuqua wanted to present more conflicts, especially in the first half of the movie. Of course, that element emphasizes character Robert McCall’s heroism. However, in a movie which storyline is probably predictable, that part feels like a nonessential story extension.
The Equalizer 2 then moved dynamically when character Robert McCall tries to investigate the mystery behind his friend’s death - which is the main plot, but was not a focus until the second half of the movie. Many intriguing aspects are presented - including some characters that give twists that are of average quality but still interesting. Fuqua’s directing for Washington's action scenes strongly attract the audience’s attention. Washington himself clearly is still the main pull for The Equalizer. In each scene, Washington is able to portray his character to be likable and humane even with the super stunt capability he always shows.
Besides Washington, The Equalizer 2’s acting overall, shows solid quality. Starting from Leo and Pullman - although in brief story capacities - to Pedro Pascal who was also able to complement Washington’s acting skills, enabled this movie to tell the story well. As a result, despite the seemingly aimless first half and a story duration that could have been shorter, The Equalizer 2 presented a pleasant action drama.
The Equalizer 2
Director : Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Bill Pullman, Denzel Washington, Melissa Leo