Director Antoine Fuqua and actor Denzel Washington reunite to re-introduce the character Robert (Bob) McCall - first seen in 2014 in the first ‘Equalizer’ film - a man who sees right and wrong in binary terms: if it’s right, all well and good, if it isn’t, well you should either make amends or pay the price - a heavy one.
We’re not talking a slap on the wrist here.
If you’ve done a Bad Thing, McCall will give you a choice: do the right thing, or face his brand of justice which is swift (he usually times it, as he is at least slightly OCD), and generally unpleasantly violent. There are no grey areas in McCalls’ thinking, good and bad are as different as black and white but he will give the guilty the chance to correct their mistakes as best as can be done.
‘EQ2’ as it’s sometimes called, has one central plot theme, with two or three side stories that are interwoven through the film, the first being set up in the opening scenes that help to tell us about McCalls’ character, and his raison d’être.
My problem with this film is not that it’s particularly bad, just that it’s not that good. Denzel Washington is as fine and reliable as ever, switching seamlessly from a warm, socially conscious citizen to a cool and calculated deliverer of bloody justice, but the film as a whole is simply much of a muchness.
The biggest disappointment (for me) is when the McCall character switches from someone who wants to avenge an injustice, to become a man who wants revenge - exemplified about two thirds through the story when he says:-
The mistake you made is that you killed my friend. So I’m going to kill each and every one of you. The only disappointment is that I only get to do it once.
If that doesn’t tell the viewer how things will develop over the last third of the movie then nothing will.
So, not a bad film but not so good as I’d make an effort to watch again. Denzel Washington does his usual dependable job, the film was entertaining enough to make me see it through to the end, and what it does it does well, but I’m not sure that what it does is make me look forward to another ‘Equalizer’.