Critic Reviews



Based on 43 critic reviews provided by
Fuqua is a lyrical director who directed Washington to an Oscar in “Training Day.” He’s not afraid to spend time in the still darkness with McCall and likes to focus on small moody elements, like rain hitting the gutters. But he can also deliver red meat: A sequence in which McCall fights off a passenger in the back seat of his car is a mini-masterpiece of taut, sinewy direction.
The Equalizer 2's conventional storytelling is certainly weak, and the violence is particularly brutal, but Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua have created a unique Punisher-with-heart vigilante character that is a pleasant thrill to watch and a modest delight to revisit.
There’s the old cliché that says, “so-and-so is such a great actor he could read the phone book (whatever that is; as I said, it’s an old cliché) and make it interesting.” That’s pretty much what Washington pulls off in EQ2.
Fuqua's storytelling here isn't as expert and efficient as McCall is when he's forced into action, but it's good enough. Bottom line: He and The Equalizer 2 still deliver on their promise of a badass Denzel doing badass things for all the right reasons.
Even though the evil impulses of the villains feel rote and arbitrary, The Equalizer 2 is not without its pleasures.
The franchise, however, feels less solid than Washington’s performance. There’s a formulaic quality to it, an aversion to the basics of world-building that gives The Equalizer 2 an outdated feel in a cinematic landscape where more attention is being paid to continuity and myth-making.
Apart from the film’s occasional spasms of rousing, lightning-choreographed ultraviolence (a confrontation with an apartment full of date-raping finance bros is particularly great), the film is too enamored with its own morose righteousness to be very engaging.
The good news is that the fans of Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer” — a bland and pulpy 2014 riff on the ’80s TV series of the same name — are in for more of the same. The bad news is that the rest of us are, too.
The Equalizer 2, which reunites Washington with director Antoine Fuqua and screenwriter Richard Wenk, puts fewer disposable goons in McCall’s crosshairs, trading the original’s rote killing-up-the-ranks revenge campaign for some half-assed approximation of a murder mystery. Call it a lateral move for this unfortunate franchise.
The Equalizer pictures operate under a false moral imperative, using the mission of cleaning up the streets as a cover for the same pat hyper-stylized, near-pornographic brutality.

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