UK Release Date: 11th December 2018
Runtime: 121 minutes
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Richard Wenk
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Pedro Pascal, Bill Pullman, Sakina Jaffrey, Orson Bean
Synopsis: When someone close to him is killed, McCall investigates a wide-ranging conspiracy that ultimately puts him at risk as well.
The Equalizer was a run of the mill, ‘Daddy knows best’ action film starring Denzel Washington that was too thoroughly dull to meet the level of fun that Liam Neeson‘s late-period action career has yielded. The Equalizer 2, which has now arrived on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK, decides to double down on the boredom whilst being fundamentally incompetent in its plotting and editing.
Equalizer 2, with Antoine Fuqua returning to the director’s chair. picks up after the events of the first film. Robert McCall (Washington) is now working as a Lyft driver whilst continuing his vigilante escapades for those in need. After a mysterious suicide brings his former partner Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) into harm’s way, it’s up to McCall to get to the bottom of it. While the plot seems straightforward, it lacks any narrative thrust.
The film bundles along at an excruciatingly slow pace, with none of the central events playing out in any coherent way. Things just happen in and out of order, adding to the trudging feeling of the film as a whole. There are some good ideas, but Fuqua can’t seem to focus on anything. McCall’s career vigilantism is left unexplored so they can fridge an interesting character from the first movie in an attempt to kickstart some sort of plot. The scenes in which McCall takes a young man (Ashton Sanders) under his wing to avoid him faling into crime feel like a B-plot, despite the fact it’s far more engaging than the main plot. Washington and Pedro Pascal playing off each other should be a delight, but neither are giving even a tenth of a shit in their performances. It feels like an intern brought in a bunch of spec scripts for the movie and tripped, having to quickly scramble the paper together in a jumbled order.
There’s no flair to the action either. Fuqua’s direction is flat and the film never becomes exciting even in its most action-packed moments. It’s dull, it’s boring and it lacks imagination.
Also, the fact the movie fails to make any statement on the morality of some of McCall’s actions feels very uncomfortable. The finale features some particularly grisly kills that feel less like our hero winning the day and more the acts of a disturbed sociopath. Not commenting on this change in brutality level from the first film is just bizarre. Whether out of laziness or simply not caring, it really feels negligent and misses out on an interesting narrative element that may have added something to this drab, uninventive bore.
For those who want to see how the sausage was made, there are some breakdowns of the action scenes, some TV spots provided by the NBA as well as a cast featurette through the lens of the director. There’s also nearly a dozen deleted scenes to dig through, a trivia track (which I always appreciate as an extra) and ‘Retribution Mode’ – a chance to view the film with Washington and Fuqua’s commentary and discussion.
Pop or Poop?
There’s some nice extras packaged with this release, but unfortunately The Equalizer 2 just isn’t a great movie. All of the players here, from the director to the cast, can do better and a sequel like this with a solid premise presented a chance to do that. Unfortunately, I could barely sit through this one.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
The Equalizer 2 is available on DVD and Blu-ray now, courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.