Certain non-Marvel action movies give us ambitious sequels, whether they’re good, great, mediocre, or bad. Some like “London Has Fallen” or “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” ruin the enjoyment of the first, while others like “Deadpool 2” or “John Wick: Chapter 2” end up being better than the original. “The Equalizer 2,” in this case, is no better than the first. In fact, it’s too boring and pointless to be so.
I was not a fan of the original “Equalizer,” which director Antoine Fuqua based off the 1980s television series. I enjoyed Denzel Washington’s performance as Robert McCall, a former FBI black ops turned vigilante, because of how the actor is able to use his intelligence and style to overcome any situation. But the biggest problem with the film was how the violence, involving girls being beaten or the hero killing assassins with garden tools, consumed the project. That movie ended up being mediocre.
This sequel, directed once more by Fuqua, jumps all over the place with Robert’s Lyft customers and apartment neighbors, and his eventual battle with terrorists who murder people and set their deaths up as suicides.
The main Lyft costumer Robert is concerned with is a Holocaust survivor (Orson Bean), who, while in his retirement home, knows his long-lost sister is alive, after they were separated in the camps. This part barely made any sense, and so one liners had to help me.
The main neighbor Robert is concerned with is a young artist named Miles (Ashton Sanders-the middle Chiron from “Moonlight”), who agrees to paint over a graffiti attack on their building, but decides to join a drug-dealing gang in order to make ends meet. This story meant more to me than anything else in the movie, especially since Sanders is a natural young actor. And obviously, this does not top the classroom scene in “Moonlight” when he smashes his bully with a chair.
And the main villains are murdering people, and making their deaths appear as suicidal. The victims include a rich couple, and Robert’s good friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo). But looking through the evidence of the attacks, he knows they weren’t suicides.
And I wasn’t surprised to learn that his old CIA partner (Pedro Pascal) is behind all this. In fact, I pretty much knew the actor would be the main villain of the film, even before I saw the movie. Pascal can be a good actor, and he does what he can here, but coming on the heels of “The Great Wall” and “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” he needs to be given the right role in the right movie.
“The Equalizer” is just plain boring-full of pointless characters, violent images, and a story that crashes and burns. Like the original, the movie offers violent images, which include stabbings, shootings, and injuries of any sort. And the final battle takes place during a hurricane in Robert’s town, and it’s no duh that Robert will come out alive.
The acting here, particularly from Washington and Sanders, is fine, and their connection had a better impact on me than anything else. But their chemistry has to overshadowed by its convoluted plot, its endless violence, and its predictable cliches.