One thing for sure, the cinematography of Equalizer 2 does not spell ‘equal’ with most of its peers. The scenes of the film almost always pull in from an unexpected direction, at least during the first third of the movie, which rendered me feeling like a maniac stalker peeping into the daily life of Robert McCall, a former intelligence operative played by Denzel Washington. He finds solace in his current life as a Lyft driver, blending into the lives of his passengers, the ordinary Americans, tapping into their tears of sadness and joy at the same time. But fret not, he does not hesitate to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty if justice calls. Such is the normal, slightly boring life of McCall, until something really bad happens to his close ally.
But prior to that, Antoine Fuqua really made the effort to establish the plot before it comes to that unfortunate incident. You can see McCall interacting with various random individuals who seem to revolve around his daily life, which almost made no sense in the beginning of plot rather than chewing up the film’s overall running time. Nevertheless, I am happy to report that these scenes do weigh significantly more as the plot closes in the end, and they do seem to piece together and carry a same hint of message. A message on how little it takes to be an everyday hero, if you aspire to be one. Oh, by the way, did I mention about how surprisingly fast Equalizer 2 introduces you to the main antagonists and make a striking impression? I’m not sure if you have encountered someone random who tapped you, shook your hand, immediately left, and you got that really bad impression, which made you wanna punch him in the face? I surely have not. But the presentation of the antagonists surely felt that way. In as little as 3 minutes or less, the antagonists suddenly made their debut and did something that established so much hate in me, I knew I was waiting for McCall to cleanse them away. It is definitely one of the densest and most impressive villain entrance I’ve ever seen.
But right after that, the second third of the story line carries you back and forth through the daily life of McCall, which can be tiresome for some of the audience. Yes, it brings a lot of drama into the play, but maybe it’s just me who started off with the wrong foot, expecting Equalizer 2 to be a full blown top-to-toe action film. Particularly, when the plot reaches the middle point where McCall and a villain tried to outdo each other in a debate of righteousness of their differing actions and viewpoints, it caught me in a dilemma as well, self debating whether the film can live up to the hype.
Then, the plot took a sharp deviation from its trajectory, which, though the latter strongly suggested that the scene itself is already in the final resolve, but turns out it’s not. And rest assured that it builds up a lot of intensity and thrills from that point onward. As the final resolve happened right in front of my eyes, I was overwhelmed. I mean, what is the threshold of how much brutality and gore that the mass audience can digest before it becomes disturbing? The peak scene of the final resolve definitely qualifies as one of the most brutal I’ve seen as of this year, and if you’re violent scenes intolerant, it boils down to whether you want take the chances with Equalizer 2. I can’t exactly call Equalizer 2 a fun ride, but it’s without a doubt thrilling and nerve-wrecking to watch. To a large extent, the story line doesn’t twist and turn like certain thriller films out there, and it certainly doesn’t take enormous brain power to digest and comprehend. Though I definitely expect the conflict to involve individuals or organizations of a larger scale, I found the action scenes that conclude the film to be acceptable. Fuqua and co did cleverly infuse and tinker with the element of weather throughout the movie, which subsequently adds more flavor and style to the whole package.
Addict Verdict, AV:
If I try my best to coin together words to describe Equalizer 2, it will be ‘a realistic superhero film’. The deadly-cold-faced but big-hearted Robert McCall returns to deliver violent action sans all the outrageous powers you’ll see in a superhero film, with just the ability to stay ahead of his enemies most of the time. Even then, in the midst of all the brutal action scenes, McCall could not escape from the drama of his everyday life as a vigilante, which he, and the audience, will have to deal with.—The Film Addict