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Blu-ray Review: The Equalizer 2

December 12, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Denzel Washington once again teams up with director Antoine Fuqua for The Equalizer 2, a surprisingly solid followup to their 2014 action film that marks the first sequel of their respective careers.

Retired CIA operative Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is now working as a Lyft driver, while still moonlighting as a vigilante who mainly rescues women from abusive and exploitative situations.

When his longtime friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is killed while investigating a mob hit in Brussels that was staged to look like a murder-suicide, Robert takes it upon himself to both solve her murder and avenge her death.

While The Equalizer 2 is somewhat of a generic revenge movie in terms of plot, and the story is often predictable, the film is also consistently entertaining to watch. There are several exciting and well choreographed action scenes that give us our money’s worth, right from the brutal opening fight on a train, once again showing off Robert’s signature ability to take stock of his surroundings so that he can strike quickly and efficiently, always timed by his stopwatch.

But this sequel also offers an engaging and surprisingly character-driven story to go along with the action sequences. The film’s best subplot finds Robert becoming somewhat of a mentor and father figure to Miles Whittaker (Ashton Sanders), a young artist who lives in the same apartment complex, whom he takes under his wing when the high schooler agrees to help paint over some racist graffiti on the side of the building. Robert is determined to save Miles from being sucked into a life of gang crime, but his own line of work could end up putting the young man’s life in danger.

Washington once again kicks ass in the leading role, still proving himself to be a formidable and effortlessly cool action star despite being in his sixties, and he brings extra weight and gravitas to the dramatic moments as well. The scenes between Washington and Sanders are some of the best in the film, with the young actor, who is best known for playing the teenaged Chiron in Moonlight, bringing some unexpected depth to both his character and the movie around him.

While I don’t know if The Equalizer 2 is a better overall movie than the first one, in some ways I found it to be a leaner and more enjoyable one, even if it still has a few bumps along the way. The film moves at a good pace, the action scenes are stylishly executed, and it offers the opportunity to watch one of our finest movie stars do his thing for two hours. It’s worth a look for action fans.

The Blu-ray also includes a selection of deleted and extended scenes, the three featurettes Denzel as McCall: Round Two, Seconds Till Death: Action Breakdown, and Through Antoine’s Lens: The Cast, as well as a TV promo for the film and a pop-up trivia track. The disc also features the option to watch the film in Retribution Mode, which offers commentary and behind the scenes footage during the movie.

The Equalizer 2 is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 121 minutes and rated 14A.

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