After the events in Boston a few years ago, Robert McCall ( Denzel Washington ), a former agent of the Defense Intelligence Agency, moved to Massachusetts. Through his daily routine as well as his job as a taxi driver, he regularly meets people whom he can help through his skills that he once acquired in the service of the government. A great help is his former colleague and good friend Susan ( Melissa Leo ), who repeatedly passes information to him and visits him from time to time. When, however, Susan is summoned to Belgium to investigate a murder case and is murdered there herself, Robert and Susan’s husband Brian ( Bill Pullman ) are deeply shaken . With the help of Susan’s colleague Dave York (Pedro Pascal ), with whom Robert served in the army many years ago, Robert wants to solve the case. He quickly finds out that it was by no means just a simple robbery and uncovered a conspiracy that brought Robert into contact with his past, with his late wife and one of his best friends, who has now probably become his enemy is.
One of the many qualities Denzel Washington is known for is the fact that he doesn’t play a role twice. According to his own statement, it was above all the script Richard Wenks that convinced him to slip into the role of Robert McCall again under the direction of Antoine Fuquas , with whom he had already worked for his Oscar role in Training Day . The sequel, so Washington, showed the character from a different side, gave it more depth, so that The Equalizer 2 can also be understood as a character study. In the end is The Equalizer 2 a solid action film that lives especially from its actor, but less from its disorganized plot.
One of the main aspects of the sequel is that McCall has to finish with his past. There is little subtle connection between this and the purchase of a book, namely Marcel Proust’s The Search for Lost Time , which is at the end of the list of 100 books that McCall began in the first film. For McCall, literature is a point of contact with a life that was once and with which he has not yet ended, with a time and an ego whose remnants still determine him, so that in principle he lives a shadowy existence, always in the service of others, but never really for yourself.
This mixture of drama and action works especially well with an actor the size of Denzel Washington. At least since the aforementioned Training Day , Washington has become an actor who can take on the twists and turns of a script and slip into a role like a chameleon. The role of Robert McCall is no exception, is played by Washington with great humanity and warmth, which can turn into the opposite in a flash if the situation requires it. Even if this is not necessarily new compared to the first part, it will hardly matter to you as a viewer, precisely because Washington’s routine still stands for a pretty good performance.
One example of an aspect that is not working well is the other relationships McCall has with his neighbors in the apartment complex where he lives. The conflict with the young Miles ( Ashton Sanders ), a talented draftsman who threatens to slide into the swamp of drug-related crime, has an overly didactic effect and generally redundant for the plot. Alluding to Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates, which was thematized in this contextMcCall, of course, also reads and later passes it on to Miles, the script seems to want to make a point in relation to how one is responsible for oneself in a world ruled by drugs and crime. In a film like The Equalizer 2, such aspects are rather annoying, especially when they are integrated into the plot in such a bumpy manner.
If Fuqua and Washington, on the other hand, reflect on the mixture of thriller and action film, which already worked well in the predecessor, The Equalizer 2 really comes to life . Again, the choreographies of the fight scenes are fast and brutal, a reflection of the disciplined and controlled McCall, who of course always looks at his stopwatch and measures the time when the fight is over.
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