The Equalizer 2

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Equalizer 2
"It's complicated and increasingly violent" | Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing (UK/Colombia Pictures

Denzel doesn't need a second name as he doesn't need an introduction. He takes on an authority that changes the dynamic of this custom killer sequel which could fit any number of action actors. What he brings to it, however, is heart.

Robert McCall may be a psychologically messed up ex-CIA assassin who went rogue in the original Equalizer against bent cops and the Russian mafia but what he believes in is justice for the innocent. He's the Robin Hood of the bad streets of Boston who works alone.

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He's older now and quieter. His apartment is uncluttered and clean, low lit in browns, full of books. There is no suggestion of any romantic connection. He works as a taxi driver and his past is blurred by rumour.

In Brussels a banker is murdered and made to look like suicide. Why this would have anything to do with McCall is difficult to imagine. A former colleague (Pedro Pascal) in the muddled murk of international security is on the case which later involves a friend (Melissa Leo) from E1 and, by association, her husband (Bill Pullman).

It's complicated and increasingly violent. Antoine Fuqua, who directed Training Day from which Denzel won an Oscar, has a style that hooks you early, not with rush cuts and frenetic edits as employed by the late Tony Scott, who made many movies with Denzel, but by stealth. He is aided and abetted by a performance from his principal actor that is steeped in McCall's back story, unlike the John Wick franchise that uses Keanu Reeves' iconic presence to do bad things. For what? More blood?

Fans of E1 may be disappointed by the pace of E2 while for others it helps to equate the tension to the rhythm of a heartbeat. McCall is a vigilante on a mission as well as the guy driving a cab who picks up info from his passengers with the ears and eyes of a coyote.

Denzel's silence speaks to McCall and together they elevate Richard Wenk's script to a level it may not deserve. Fuqua's commitment takes the hit. A good one.

You will survive.

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018
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Ex-CIA hitman, Robert McCall, is trying to stay incognito and low key as a Boston cab driver but is drawn into a mysterious murder in Brussels that has fatal and violent consequences.
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The Equalizer