Watson Reviews: Equalizer 2 (Spoiler Free)

Image result for equalizer 2 poster

I remember two things about the original film starring Denzel Washington: (1) it was a pleasant surprise that I actually enjoyed, and (2) there was one cool scene in the back room of a bar where the action is as good as anything in John Wick.  Other than that, I can’t remember a thing. A total Chinese Food of films.  How would the second film fare?

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

It was like bad Chinese food.  Kind of gave me indigestion.  We pick back up with Robert McCall, a former government assassin who now rights wrongs and helps those in need.  He is also Lyft driver, because the middle class opportunities for former government assassin who now rights wrongs and helps those in need aren’t what they used to be.

When his close friend in the CIA dies in a hotel in Europe, McCall must solve her murder and bring the killers to justice.  But the budget here isn’t the same as the budget for Mission Impossible, so he really just resolves things from the house…

WHAT WORKED:

  • Denzel still commands the screen. The film wasn’t good.  The script was dreadful.  All the charm of the first film’s premise and execution is gone.  But fortunately, Denzel is still there to keep us from walking out of the theater.
  • The action is good. It is a little more brutal than the first film; and the first film was fairly rough.  But the fight scenes are well choreographed and executed.  The final set piece, where Denzel confronts the guilty parties is actually quite effective and engaging.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • This was a movie and not a television season. The Greeks who invented modern storytelling said that nothing should be included in a story that is not critical to the narrative.  Boy did this film blow that one.  There is WAY too much going on here and the film has like a million things happening before we really get into the plot.  There were more false starts than a rookie QB. The young street artist plotline, which they tried to make work, should have been cut out entirely.  The old man plotline, which I THINK was a carryover from the first film, seemed way too television B-plot.
  • The A-plot was clunky. Forget all the extras added to pad the script.  The main plot was clunky and not terribly compelling.  I was never emotionally invested or
  • Huge step back from a pleasant first installment. I am not sure why Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) chose to clutter up a decent film with a bunch of nonsense, but this fell way off the first film, which wasn’t exactly The Godfather to start with.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This movie was very busy.  Way too many extraneous plotlines and odd choices.  If they had simplified and just had Denzel kicking butt, it would have been fine. But Denzel must not have realized this was a paycheck film and not Oscar bait.  He could learn a thing or two from Liam Neeson.  Just lean into the dumb action.  Trying to do both creates a mess…

Overall, I give Equalizer 2 a score of 4Time Settings out of 10.

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