‘The Equalizer 2’ review: Denzel Washington balances the action and the drama

Antoine Fuqua’s ‘The Equalizer 2’ slow-burn approach muddles with too many subplots but it eventually pays off with a cathartic finale.

The Equalizer 2 brings back Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall – a low-key vigilante who now works as an unassuming Lyft driver. Apart from having a neat excuse for brand placement, it’s also the film’s perfect vehicle for his R-rated style of justice. Such job gives him access to different kinds of people, including the worst ones. It may not be his business, but if any of them are caught red-handed, they’ll surely find themselves in deep trouble. It’s a calling that he continues to embrace as a way to atone for his unexplored, dark past.

And so this sequel gives McCall plenty of side missions to work on. In the opening sequence, he disguises himself as an Imam to infiltrate and extinguish a train filled with human traffickers. Then, he gives a painful lesson to a group of corporate boys who are taking advantage of a female intern, all while scoring a five-star rating for his driving services. He still has the time to do some unsolicited and uncommissioned work for his acquaintances, such as recovering a stolen painting and cleaning up a vandalized wall.

Denzel Washington as Robert McCall. Photo via Sony Pictures.

“Anybody could do, but nobody does.” He says at one point to defend his brute philosophy. McCall is the type of a ‘judge, jury, executioner’ who’s not interested in taking down an entire corrupt system. He’s more concerned in making a difference in the lives of individuals around him using his insane talent for killing. As long as the film sets his moral compass right, this should work out just fine.

If in the first Equalizer, McCall looks out for a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) who gets crossed by a mafia, in here, he makes it his personal mission to prevent an impressionable young Miles (Ashton Sanders) from living a gangster life. In those moments, the film slows down and reminds the viewers how complex McCall’s character is. He can be a heartless killer to his enemies, yet he can also be a father figure to a misguided teenage boy. He’s good with guns and various murder instruments but at the same time, he devotes time in reading philosophical books. He’s essentially a monk – he seeks out no trouble but he’s always there to deliver a swift and violent retribution when needed.

Denzel Washington and Ashton Sanders in ‘The Equalizer 2.’ Photo via Sony Pictures.

Once the film gets into its centerpiece conflict, it’s relatively less compelling than expected. It involves the murder of two CIA agents, including McCall’s friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) from the first film. To unravel the mystery of her death, McCall reconnects with his old partner Dave York (Pedro Pascal) and from then, the film spins the plot into a revenge story: McCall hunts down the guys who did it. The film thankfully does not linger much on withholding its predictable twist. Nevertheless, it’s still nice to see everything play out.

Where the recent Mission: Impossible – Fallout hits the ground running with minimal amounts of breathing time, The Equalizer 2 takes time in building its moments, scattering various action set pieces over its run time. The finale culminates in a deserted town during the middle of a hurricane where director Antoine Fuqua’s stylized and cathartic direction is most evident. McCall, on the other hand, gets to shine with his resourceful ways of killing – why shoot someone with a gun when you can shoot them with a harpoon? He’s more fastidious and calculated than some action heroes like John McClane or Ethan Hunt, so the fight scenes are choreographed with such suave and precision. It’s closer to John Wick’s style, albeit with less martial arts in play.

Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal in ‘The Equalizer 2.’ Photo via Sony Pictures.

In its essence, The Equalizer 2 is a character study of a lonely, retired man who aspires to be the universe’s karmic balancer in his little ways. McCall is still pretty much an enigma as the film ends. Hence, a third film with his backstory in it is not a bad idea. The whole experience feels like watching a mini-series condensed into a 2-hour film. With a plot structure that wanders off to so many goals, it takes a while to let it feel cohesive, to feel like it’s actually going somewhere. Plot-wise it feels uneven but with Washington’s brooding presence and magnetic performance, the film eventually finds its groove.


3.5 out of 5 stars


Directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by Richard Wenk
Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, Orson Bean, Jonathan Scarfe, Sakina Jaffrey, Adam Karst, Kazy Tauginas, Garrett Golden, Orson Bean
Run time: 121 minutes

‘The Equalizer 2’ trailer: There will be consequences in Denzel Washington’s revenge action-thriller

Columbia Pictures has just released the brand new trailer of Denzel Washington’s revenge action-thriller The Equalizer 2.

Check out the trailer below and watch The Equalizer 2 in Philippine cinemas soon.

Denzel Washington returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his career. Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed – but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.

The Equalizer 2 also stars Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

The Equalizer 2 is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

WATCH: Denzel Washington back in action in ‘The Equalizer 2’ trailer

Sometimes justice isn’t enough. Watch Denzel Washington in the new trailer for Columbia Pictures’ new action-thriller The Equalizer 2, in Philippine cinemas this September.

Denzel Washington returns to one of his signature roles in the first sequel of his career. In The Equalizer 2, Robert McCall (Washington) serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed – but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.

The Equalizer 2 also stars Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

The Equalizer 2 is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Denzel Washington protects the innocent in ‘The Magnificent Seven’

Two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington takes the lead as Sam Chisolm in Columbia Pictures’ new action adventure “The Magnificent Seven” (in cinemas Sept. 21). (Watch the Sam Chisolm vignette at https://youtu.be/jlXqI5A18J8.)

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures’ “The Magnificent Seven.” With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople, led by Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Producer Todd Black says that he thinks Washington was likely drawn to the project for a number of reasons. “I think Denzel wanted to do it because he rarely does ensembles, and I think he thought it would be fun to do one. It was a different way for him to do an action film. He had a strong relationship with Antoine. But most of all, it was different, and he’s always looking for different.”

Naturally, Washington was also drawn by the chance to play Chisolm, the leader of the titular seven. “There are those who have been put on this Earth to protect the innocent,” says the actor. “For this town, he is the right man at the right time.”

“He’d tell you he’s a duly sworn warrant officer from Wichita, Kansas and a licensed peace officer in Arkansas, Indian Territory, Nebraska, and seven other states,” says Washington. “He’s a black man in the frontier, in a position of authority, so he needs to let people know he has authority from the government to do this job. He’s a loner; he’s unafraid. He’s a master with his weapon but he’s not a braggart; he’s a lonely, honorable, courageous man, not especially used to dealing with people.”

“We did a lot of research into guys like that – free black men truly from the West who did that for a living – so we took that and ran with it,” says Fuqua. “When we first meet Chisolm, he’s just going after bad guys and bringing them back to the judge or killing them – either way is OK. He’s in a very cold, dark place – all business – until Haley Bennett’s character says there’s a man in town who is killing men, women and children, and his reaction to that is what stops him.”

“In this town, this evil man has broken backs, literally, and the spirits, of these people,” Washington explains. “I think that affects each of the seven in a different way, but they’re determined to do something about it. Chisolm is coming there to do a job – this town is being taken over – and it happens that he’s also looking for revenge for something that happened to his family. Because he wasn’t able to serve justice on his own situation, for his own family, he’s been attracted to a desire to right wrongs, to bring evil people to jail, to pay for their crimes.”

“The Magnificent Seven” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Use the hashtag #Mag7

WATCH: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt invite fans for ‘The Magnificent Seven’

Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt went out of their way to engage fans as they introduce the new international trailer of Columbia Pictures’ upcoming action-adventure “The Magnificent Seven” which may be viewed below.

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ “The Magnificent Seven.”

With the town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Opening across the Philippines on September 21, 2016, “The Magnificent Seven” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #Mag7

WATCH: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ remake launches first trailer

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his modern vision to a classic story in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ and Columbia Pictures’ “The Magnificent Seven” starring . Watch the film’s first trailer that has just been launched below.

With the sleepy town of Rose Creek under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington), Josh Farraday (Chris Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Written by Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk, “The Magnificent Seven” is produced by Roger Birnbaum and Todd Black, with executive producers Walter Mirish, Antonine Fuqua, Bruce Berman and Ben Waisbren.

Opening across the Philippines on September 21, 2016, “The Magnificent Seven” is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.