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July 25, 2018

The Equalizer 2 (2018) --- "There Is No Such Thing As An Equal. But There Will Always Be An Equalizer."

Plot Summary
If you have a problem and there is nowhere else to turn, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall will deliver the vigilante justice you seek. This time, however, McCall's past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill Susan Plummer -- his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins who'll stop at nothing to destroy him. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
WARNING!!! the violence in The Equalizer 2 certainly earns its R rating.
     I enjoyed The Equalizer (2014) immensely; it was a masterful combo of action and thriller. And while it was not necessarily a film begging for a sequel, when I heard a sequel was being made I eagerly anticipated its arrival to the big screen. Let’s just say I was not disappointed. The Equalizer 2 (2018), while not perfect, is an even more entertaining and thrilling action film than its predecessor.
     Director Antoine Fuqua returns to correct some of the flaws the first film carried by making sure he creates a film that delivers with more than just your typical action frou-frou. He gives the film some much-needed substance that makes the main character a sophisticated action hero, unlike any before him.
The film’s storyline is similar to the first film, the main characters act as a sort-of Punisher who helps those who have been wronged; he balances the scales as both judge and executioner. However, there were some differences to the story, which can only be described as a new level of maturity. The film delves a bit more into the main character’s backstory by hinting at certain things without being overly obvious, which rounds out the character and gives him depth. The pace slows down a number of times but the overall quality never feels disrupted nor does the film drag one bit. In a way the film reminds me of The Accountant (2016) but with a bit more emotion and realism that makes the film believable. The film does not forget its original purpose - giving justices to those deserve it, the good and the bad – and while it is an action film it is also a journey through humanity.
     The Equalizer 2 deters from the standard action film by including fewer action sequences than the first film. Surprisingly I hardly noticed, which goes to show how much this decision worked. The action sequences are more precise and planned out than before but it is the realistic sound effects and FX that make the action sequences a believability. Every crunch, snap, slice, and thump will make you cringe and hiss as if you’re more than just a spectator of a film.
     The main reason why the story and action were delivered so well is that of the main character played by Denzel Washington, who once again delivers a terrific performance. He effortlessly balances a character that can be friendly and polite one second and then be cunning and ruthless the next. Washington’s role here is what’s called a type character. We have seen Liam Neeson (The Commuter), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Killing Gunther), Jason Statham (The Meg),  Bruce Willis (Death Wish), Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible - Fallout), and even Daniel Craig (Bond 25, in 2019) fall prey to these type of action roles many times. And don’t get me started on the actresses. However, there are those lucky few actors and actresses who manage to overcome these type casting roles and deliver a broad range of character emotion and personality, which can only be described as an innate-God-given talent. For instance, Tom Hanks has been in a ton of film since the early 1980’s and over that time he has delivered a wide range of performances. He plays a no-nonsense smoking newspaper editor in The Post (2018), before that he was an egotistical CEO with a dark hidden agenda in The Circle (2017) and before that he was a professor of art history and symbolism who goes on the ultimate chase in Inferno (2016). Another actor who also has this talent is Paul Giamatti. In Big Fat Liar (2002) he was an egotistical movie producer who stole for a 14-year-old to save his job. In 12 Years a Slave (2013) he plays a white racist Freeman, only to play an African-American loving music producer and businessman in Straight Outta Compton (2013). In short, Denzel Washington is one of those few actors.
     Overall, The Equalizer (2014) was a great first film that did not necessarily need a sequel. However, The Equalizer 2 (2018) is an eagerly anticipated action thriller of a new level. The story carries much of the original purpose but it is clear from the opening scene that things have been moved up a notch. The action was thrilling and believable with realistic sound effects that will make anyone cringe, and the performance of Denzel Washington was top-notch.  If you are a fan of the first film and  The Accountant (2016) then you will enjoy this film even more.

"The mistake they made was they killed my friend."
- Robert McCall

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  8.8 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  8.8 of 5 stars

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