I love when Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua team up. Regardless of the movie’s overall quality, it’s always entertaining. Sometimes the films are fantastic, like “Training Day,” other times they are highly entertaining, like “The Magnificent Seven.” “The Equalizer 2” falls solely into the second category. This film pairs Washington and Fuqua to make an entertaining action movie that’s not too deep on story, but fairly original in character.
What’s “The Equalizer”?
I watched the first “Equalizer” in 2014 and enjoyed it, but little did I know “The Equalizer” is a reboot of a 1980s TV show. In 2021 another TV show launched separately from both the movies and the original show. The origins show was about a man named Robert McCall, who was an American covert operative who looked to atone for his past by doing good for people who needed help. In the show, he put an advertisement in a newspaper. The show had a case-of-the-week vibe and was a spy-like thriller. McCall drove a sweet Jaguar and used various gadgets to solve crimes.
The films follow a similar idea. McCall is played by Denzel Washington, and he is a former covert operative. He retired to live a life of peace but, on occasion, uses his old skills to help people. In the film, he doesn’t put an advertisement in the newspaper, although, at the end of the first film, he answers a Craigslist ad.
In “The Equalizer 2,” he is a Lyft driver and kind of just finds trouble through his daily interactions. McCall is a former Marine who worked for the DIA and likes to keep using his skills to help people.
Equalizer — A Messy Plot
The beginning of “The Equalizer 2” isn’t very focused. It’s almost a series of vignettes of Robert McCall interacting with Lyft customers and his neighbors, and reading books. In the first scene, he’s established as a badass as he beats down several men on a train and rescues a young girl.
Then we get scenes of him trying to mentor a young man from his building. He entertains and tries to help a Holocaust survivor find a painting stolen by the Nazis. He beats the hell out of a group of young executives who abused and assaulted a woman, and somewhere between all this, we get the tiniest breadcrumbs of a plot.
The main plot has McCall’s friend and former partner investigating a murder and then getting murdered herself in a staged suicide. This triggers McCall to investigate and figure out what happened. Betrayal is afoot, and McCall faces off with a team of his former DIA colleagues, promising to kill them all.
A promise he predictably keeps.
The Equalizer 2 — The Last Act Is the Only Act
As the movie moves along, the only real act is the last act, which takes place in a seaside town that is being ravaged by a hurricane. This does create an original setting and also allows Robert to be a little less outnumbered. He’s facing his peers, and the hurricane helps make him a slightly more believable one-man army. McCall finds the bad guys, lures them into a trap, and proceeds to kill them all. His mentoree gets kidnapped and saved, predictably.
Even though the plot is messy and seemingly disjointed, the movie is still entertaining. Sometimes violent-justice porn just feels good to see. Real life isn’t always fair, and sometimes it’s nice to see the bad guy get his arm broken or get shot in the face. The reason why it works is that we crave justice and are frustrated with our system. On top of that, Denzel isn’t your standard action hero. He’s stoic for sure, but also quiet and seemingly gentle with most people. He’s intelligent, a reader, and a man who seems like he could be your dad or brother, or friend.
When it’s time to whoop ass, he flips the switch and gets things done. He usually gives his villains a chance to do the right thing. When they don’t take that chance, he deals with them. He’s not the typical vigilante like the Punisher or Batman, but that’s what he is, to be fair.
It’s not a movie that will win awards or will stand out, but for a couple of hours, you can eat popcorn and enjoy Denzel Washington being awesome.
The Guns and Gun Play
“The Equalizer 2” is not a super gun-heavy movie. At least it’s not a gunfight-heavy film. We see a smattering of guns throughout the film. The Equalizer himself is skilled with a firearm but doesn’t seem to bring one to fights. He often disarms opponents and arms himself to the teeth. From gangbangers to Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) mercenaries, he’ll take you down and arm himself.
The last act is where we see the most gunplay. The DIA-turned-mercs bring an arsenal of high-end firearms to befit for a team of hardcore, highly trained mercs. McCall kills one of them and takes his Sig-Sauer MPX fitted with a Trijicon MRO, Maxim stock, weapon light, and suppressor.
One of the other baddies carries a nice Daniel Defense MK18, and the third carries a Sig Sauer MCX. Our big bad guy comes to the fight armed with a Daniel Defense Mk12. The shooting and action are all competent, but nothing stands out as crazy good or bad. All of the guns are well-equipped with accessories. In one scene, I’m almost positive the MCX has a MAWL attached to it. Our Mk12 has a bipod and what appears to be a night vision optic, although our view through the optic makes it seem like a normal day optic.
My pro tip for the mercenaries: why wear Multicam suits in a seemingly suburban beachside town? Normal clothes with windbreakers, hoods, and glasses would be a bit better for fighting in the rain. Also, this is one of the rare times when your camo stands out.
Enjoy the Action
This movie won’t blow you away or give you those “John Wick” vibes. It’s just a fun action flick that certainly kills a few hours. I doubt we’ll see “The Equalizer 3,” but if we do, I’m down to see McCall bring justice to the unjust.