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REVIEW: “The Equalizer 2”

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With all of the great action movies coming out recently, it’s easy to let some of them fly under the radar, those films without the name recognition to carry them. “The Equalizer” was one such okay-ish action film that so one expected to get a sequel despite coasting on the star power of lead Denzel Washington. Still, we now have “The Equalizer 2,” which is on-par with the first, but that’s not saying too much.

The film opens on ex-black operative Robert McCall still helping people in Boston with his special set of skills while working as a Lyft driver. When his old friend and handler is murdered for getting too close to a case, he makes it his new life mission to hunt the men who killed her and make them pay in the most painful way possible.

The plot suffers from some of the same problems as its predecessor. The narrative is very predictable and tends to divide its attention a bit too much. Another problem is that there is a lack of tension to the film because they turn on McCall’s “God mode.” There is never a moment where his character is not either in complete control of the situation or struggling to resolve a new conflict. No one in the movie stands a chance against him in close combat and it make this too easy a ride.

The side characters are very interesting for the most part, but McCall does not really hold a candle to them, which is weird considering he’s the hero. He does have some stuff he is going through, but none of it is really focused on and when the villains are revealed, he has no conflict about killing them outright. Everything could have been written to have more weight. Instead, they just coast off Denzel’s abundance of charm and swagger.

Every actor is doing a good job in this, elevating the subpar writing with their performances. Denzel is still the most entertaining and fits Antoine Fuqua’s style the best. Pedro Pascal and Melissa Leo are easily the most interesting besides him.

The brutality of the action scenes is one of the few things this film excels at, with the final set piece having a great setting that makes it better than it probably should be. The score sounds nice, but ends up being just as forgettable as the rest of the film.

If you don’t rush out to see The Equalizer 2, no one will blame you. Everything about it feels like it could have been done better or tightened up, though everyone is certainly having fun making this film. However, if you’re looking for your July blockbuster, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” is easily the better choice.

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REVIEW: “The Equalizer 2”