Monday, August 6, 2018

Review: "The Equalizer 2" steps up from its first bout.

The Equalizer 2 Review

I had to do a little searching to find my original review of "The Equalizer." As you can tell, it didn't leave that much of an impact me. I honestly couldn't remember much about it before re-reading my own review, which you can read right here. It seemed like a big bundle of things I had seen before. Denzel Washington playing a troubled killer who decides to protect a young girl is not even close to a new idea. Not to mention that literally everything else about the film was so painfully by-the-numbers that its really no surprise to me that I forgot about it. Denzel was good, sure. But Denzel is good in everything he does. It's not enough to just drop a great actor into a bad movie and expect the result to be greater than gold.

It's been an interesting summer so far. As much as I loved the original "Sicario," I would never have guessed that we would have got a sequel to it. But we did indeed, and even though I missed Emily Blunt in that one. "Sicario 2" is just as great as the original film is. Who knows, maybe I'll love it even more the next time I see it, as I've only seen it once so far. Then there is the "The Equalizer 2," a movie I was surprised by, a movie I would never expect to exist in any fashion. Yet, here it is and I can't believe how much of it worked. It's not just Denzel being his magnificent self. But they actually gave him something to do.

The movie begins with Denzel Washington's Robert McCall on a train, dressed as a Muslim. He's on a job, and he confronts some men who may have kidnapped a girl. So of course, McCall totally destroys everyone in the room and gets the whereabouts of the girl. Then the girl goes home. This isn't a movie that is necessarily about one incident. We learn that McCall, the retired DIA agent is a Lyft driver by day and pretty much runs a freelance vigilante service at night with his old colleague Ms. Plummer, played by Melissa Leo. He just wants to help the people in his community, but he's also almost like a Frank Castle like figure. There is another point in the movie when as Lyft driver, McCall picks up a girl who clearly has suffered some kind of abuse. He goes back to the men who paid them, and find out his suspicions were the truth and he runs train on kicking everyone's butt.

After a series of losing people close to him, McCall gets wrapped into a political mystery. Yes, I get that a political mystery is as original as Washington playing a dangerous man protecting a young girl. But look, I never said the movie was original. I will argue that it is highly entertaining though. The series still suffers from being a mixed bag of cliches. But the acting is top-notch, the action scenes are high intensity and full of riveting material and the story line is at least, kind of fun this time out. Washington is matched with some great support. Including "Game of Thrones" Pedro Pascal. "Moonlight's" Ashton Sanders shows up as a young man McCall is vigorously trying to keep out of gang life and they make for a sweet subplot. Bill Pullman also shows up and is very good here.

But I am sure the target audience for this movie goes to see this movie to watch Denzel Washington get sweet revenge on the bad guys. Trust me, the movie satisfies in that arena as well. We love watching Washington walk cool, spouting some clever one-liners and taking the villains to task. He does that here with enough style to shake a stick at. So come to watch Washington throw-down, but stay for a story that is better than average, even if you have seen it before.


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