It’s not as good as the first, but this sequel sees Denzel Washington reprise his role as Robert McCall, a former Marine and Defence Intelligence Agency operative, from The Equalizer. The rest of the cast, and the story, aren’t as good as the first, which played up some of the noir aspects and was more visually interesting as a result. Other than a sequence on an island that was just evacuated for a storm, The Equalizer 2 is a bit plainer, with fewer night-time sequences.
The films are very loosely based on the ‘80s TV show. In this second instalment, Washington is working as a Lyft driver when a good friend is murdered. Of course, he goes off to get his revenge. In the earlier film there was an interesting dynamic between Washington and co-star Chloe Grace Moretz, who gave a much stronger performance in the role of a teenage prostitute than such roles usually offer space for, but she hasn’t returned for the sequel. This time Washington is on his own and needs to carry the film—not a problem, he’s a great actor. But the story doesn’t drive forward with the sense of urgency that the first had.
Anton Fuqua, who has worked with Washington several times before (including on Training Day, which won Washington his Oscar) directs. There are probably a few too many sub-plots crammed in, and it could have used a bit more pulp-fiction action.
Despite the criticisms above, it’s a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable thriller, with good performances from Washington and Bill Pullman. It’s actually the first time Washington has done a sequel. I don’t know if the rumoured third feature will happen, as this may not have done as well as was hoped. If you are a huge fan of the movie, be aware that the UK version was trimmed to get a UK 15 rating (as was its predecessor), so you might prefer to order the US import.
The Blu-Ray release includes some featurettes and deleted scenes.