By Khaleel Herbert
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is not your typical Lyft driver. As established in “The Equalizer,” he’s a skilled ex-assassin from the government. But when he “dies,” he goes into hiding and uses his combat skills to help others with issues.
McCall helps everyone from a Holocaust survivor looking for his sister’s portrait to getting a young man (Ashton Sanders) out of gang trouble. In his free time he reads plenty of books and nulls over the loss of his wife.
A surprise visit from his old friend, Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo), brings back old memories over soup and laughs. When she asks for McCall to return to his old job, he respectfully declines. This is their last meeting, unfortunately, because while visiting Brussels, Belgium, she’s killed by hired goons. When McCall gets the news, he reverts to his old ways and vows to bring her murderers to justice.
“The Equalizer 2” beats its predecessor hands down. There’s an unexpected plot-twist and we get a closer look at McCall’s backstory with people from his past, including his partner, Dave (Pedro Pascal). Washington goes beast mode and only gets a few scrapes and scratches during combat. There’s more blood, which is always a treat.
Director Antoine Fuqua knows how to bring Washington to action from “Training Day” to “The Magnificent Seven.” Washington, after 30+ years and over 50 movies, has not lost his touch as an actor. His acting keeps you enthralled no matter who he plays from a stern lawyer in “Philadelphia” and a slick detective in “Devil in a Blue Dress,” to a lowly train worker in “The Taking of Pelham 123” or a man trying to save his son in “John Q.”
Although I didn’t see “The Equalizer” series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim, both movies seem like a similar take on Robert Downey Jr.’s and Benedict Cumberbatch’s renditions of Sherlock Holmes. Like Holmes, McCall takes cases to help others and is ruthless in the combat department. The only difference is McCall actually killed people for the government and works alone. He doesn’t mind digging up information or playing dress-up to go undercover.
“The Equalizer 2” is the most fun you’ll have at the movies this summer, making “Skyscraper” look like “Teletubbies.”
Studio: Sony (2hr. 1 min)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, Jonathan Scarfe, Orson Bean, Sakina Jaffrey
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Story: Robert McCall delivers justice to the murderers of his only good friend, Susan Plummer.
Final Score: A