It is the age of movie transitions, and the age of passing torches to the younger generation in hopes of establishing new legends into the mix. Yet, it doesn’t mean that the current legends have faced their last mission. Tonight’s movie review proves the case as the incredible Denzel Washingtonleads another movie, in hopes of bringing the success to a sequel. Can the man who made so many epic films do it again, or is this a series that needed to retire? Let’s get into it as I review:
The Equalizer 2 (2018)
Acting: Denzel is a good actor, we all know this. His ability to play these hardened, battle scarred, internally struggling super soldiers never fails to impress, and I always enjoy his intensity when playing these characters. Still with the finesse delivery, Denzel’s ability to deliver his dialogue is magnificent, brings inspiration and motivation to many. Ashton Sandersachieved his role quite well, not quite as motivational, but certainly capturing the struggling artist motif of his character. A nice balance was struck between these two, which established a dynamic relationship between these two. The rest did fine in their parts, but it was these two who held most of the screen time.
The Realism: It’s an action movie, but it is grounded into the realm of reality. Equalizer 2 does have some tense moments to spice things up, but it doesn’t resort to flashy special effects and physics defying moves to do it… mostly. This film sticks to tactic combat, utilizing skills and the mind to play a deadly game that will deal the justice you want. While they are limited through much of the movie, the end game is where this strategy is really capitalized on it. In addition, if a player gets injured, they don’t recover quickly so that helps keep things exciting.
The Second Half Pace: The movie really takes off at the half way point, taking the steam to push them into the action/thriller component. Once the movie hits into this realm, it finally gets super interesting and engaging, amping up the tension and trying to keep you guessing at what will happen next. And even better… it actually doesn’t feel like the movie is dragging by this point.
The Character Development: Surprisingly, the movie opens up Denzel’s character to help explain more of the backstory that molded him into the super assassin hiding behind the chiseled features. I did enjoy learning more about the central protagonists haunting past, but also in seeing him evolve, so that he may overcome his struggles and attempt to move on to something else. It fits well with the movie series, and shows potential for any future installments they may try to make.
The Dialogue: Hands down though, my favorite part is the dialogue/writing of the movie. Not so much in terms of story, Equalizer 2 wins points for inspirational words that only Denzel can maximize. It’s writing that fits very well into the theme/premise of the movie, almost as if Denzel is defending the audience and trying to make them better. Even Sanders lines are decently developed, fitting his character well and doing the lifting of establishing relationships and connecting Denzel to the characters. Hands down this was the solidifying factor that tied the movie together.
The Pace of the First Part: It helps get the movie established in that Robin Hood like atmosphere, but it dragged for me. Equalizer 2 needs some major pushing to get us to the good stuff, with a few action appetizers to try and hold your energy. It’s not the slowest opening, but editing could have taken some time to trim the fat and help tighten the story.
Predictability: It’s easy to figure out what’s going to happen… not much more I can say about that. The trailers have done a decent amount of revealing, but those that haven’t seen it should have no trouble figuring this out.
The Action: Realistic as it may be, the action is still not quite as spiced up as the trailers tried to make it be. Impressive as tactical combat is, the movie still doesn’t quite have all the energy and excitement I like in a film (which is often fast paced gunplay with lots of boom). While I still did enjoy the slower combat, I would have liked to see more of it, as there are huge gaps between short lived bouts that make for a slower movie. Yet, if you are a fan of the most recent Borne Film, you should have no problems with this presentation.
Story: My least favorite aspect though is the story. I’m not saying Equalizer 2’s tale is horrible, or the worst thing ever, but I also don’t think it is the most groundbreaking either. The opening feels like a charity meets Robin Hood approach, a sort of toned down Death Wish to establish the setting. After that though, I struggled with appreciating the four subplots interweaving with each other to try and craft an overall plot. True, this multi-tiered approach opened avenues for character development, however the main plot of vengeance took many detours that felt skipped at times. When the rabbit hole’s bottom was reached, it wound up being very lackluster, realistic and certainly making a point, but nothing that had my eyes bugging wide. Even worse, when the exciting climax did happen, the bite sort of fell out of the antagonist.
Equalizer 2 is better overall for me, though I won’t lie that it was missing that original component (e.g. clever trap battles in hardware stores) the first movie had. It’s got great heart, fantastic writing, and smarter acting, which makes it a prime target for thriller/spy/crime dramas that have toned down action. However, the pacing, surprise, and story of the movie require some redrawing for the next installment to really maximize the modern-day vigilante genre. If you are a Denzel fan, I’m not going to stop you from hitting this film up, and if you are looking for a thriller/action this movie is the one. However, I do recommend waiting for home rental on this one to maximize your funds.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.5