Of all sequels, why would Denzel pick this one: Rashid Irani reviews Equalizer 2
A retired CIA agent turns vigilante and sets out to avenge the murder of his former boss and buddy. It’s all very ho-hum.
Denzel Washington appears to have entered a career cul-de-sac. This is the first time the two-time Oscar winner has played the same character twice, and there’s really no reason he should have.
Equalizer 2 is a scattershot sequel to the 2014 vigilante thriller. This time around, Washington, as Robert McCall — the retired CIA agent-turned-avenging angel from the popular ’80s TV series — sets out to avenge the murder of his former boss and buddy (Melissa Leo).
The generic plot has him zipping across Istanbul, Brussels and Washington DC to dispense his own brand of justice. In the midst of pummelling a legion of baddies, he finds time to befriend an elderly Holocaust survivor and an aspiring African-American artiste (Ashton Sanders, the ensemble standout) who has fallen in with drug pushers.
The action set pieces are fairly sluggish. The climactic shoot-’n-slice-’em-up in a hurricane-hit coastal town is admittedly orchestrated with flair, but it doesn’t make up for the sad sight of Washington spouting platitudes and struggling to make the action seem effortless.
Despite its glossy sheen, this is just run-of-the-mill pulp fiction.