'Equalizer 2': An enjoyable vigilante film despite mediocrity (Movie Review)
By Troy Ribeiro, Film: "Equalizer 2"; Director: Antoine Fuqua; Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, Jonathan Scarfe, Orson Bean; Rating: ***
It is about a retired CIA agent Robert McCall, who plays a lone ranger delivering justice to the abused, the defenceless and the oppressed.
The film opens with an elegant scene on-board a speeding train of the Turkish Railways some 400 km away from Istanbul.
Robert McCall dressed as an Arab swiftly disposes of thugs who kidnap a young girl, just to harass her mother. The incident feels so insignificant yet, serves as a reminder that McCall was created to offer help to random people on everything."
Back in Boston, McCall works as a driver for a company called Lyft which is akin to Uber and he seems sincerely dedicated to those in need of help.
But when his only friend and former CIA handler, Susan Plummer is murdered, he stumbles upon that she is done with for investigating the case of multiple murders of upscale officials at their homes, how he solves the mystery and delivers her justice forms the crux of the tale.
The story is simple and the main plot is juxtaposed with other subplots that in turn dive into an abstract universe.
The plot takes a bit long to get into gear. There is a break in the narrative, perhaps because it seeks a reflexive vision, and that together with the naturalness in the staging, results in a frankly strange and evasive film.
The dreamlike detail in which the director uses to teleport McCall to events such as a crime scene or projects him in a place of his past or the type of mental musing he uses to psychoanalyse the supposed murders, serve as good examples.
Also, one of the main peeves is that the story never shows you that McCall is in real trouble. The whole conspiracy he faces feels very light and casual, as if it does not matter.
The climax that takes place in an evacuated town hit by a storm, offers an interesting and unusual setting but there are moments that could be termed as preposterous.
But the camera undertakes an emotional journey from the locales to the fine nuances of the characters, which produces an excellent symbiosis between the character and environment. It makes us witness the lone fighter in a rigid and focussed manner.
And before we complain about Denzel's performance as McCall, he tells us: "There are two kinds of pain. Pain that hurts and pain that alters."
And you witness the change with an open heart. Reuniting with Director Antoine Fuqua for the fourth time, after 'Training Day', 'The Equalizer' and 'The Magnificent Seven', Denzel plays the unusual action hero with elegance and intelligence.
He is aptly supported by Melissa Leo as Susan Plummer, Pedro Pascal as Dave his one-time operational partner, Aston Sanders as the local kid Miles who McCall saves from getting sucked into the underworld and Orson Bean as the Holocaust Survivor. They all add flavour and gravitas to the narrative.
Overall, despite keeping you hooked for nearly two hours, the film lacks the excitement of the cat and mouse chase between the bad men and the vigilante.