Denzel Washington is back in the sequel to the reboot of a half-forgotten TV series called The Equalizer.
The original Equalizer featured bookish English star Edward Woodward taking on the problems of little guys, when they’re up against big bad guys. He equalized their chances, if you follow me, and best of all, he didn’t want any money for it.
The two questions raised were – one – how did he pay his way, and – two – how could a middle-aged Englishman beat up the bad guys so easily?
Well I still can’t answer the first question, but the second one is easier in the new Equalizer films – he’s Denzel Washington.
And the second film opens with him, lightly disguised, on the Orient Express in Turkey.
McCall – the Equalizer’s civilian name – likes to test himself by setting his stop-watch before he takes on the half-dozen or so heavies between him and justice.
He can usually get to the other side in just under thirty seconds. He still doesn’t get paid, I notice.
Just as the first Equalizer kept the co-stars to a bare minimum – Chloe Grace Moretz as the victim, I remember, and New Zealander Marton Czokas as the Bad Guy – so the sequel is still mostly Denzel front and centre, and B-Listers to one side.
It’s a little unkind to refer to the memorable Oscar-winner Melissa Leo as a “B-Lister”.
But I’m afraid if you nod off for a couple of minutes you’ll miss Melissa, despite her billing as McCall’s best friend.
While the Equalizer builds up a head of steam to avenge the removal of the one other name actor from the film, he hangs out in his neighbourhood, tidying up a vandalized garden, and inviting a street-kid called Miles to do the right thing.
As we’re so often invited to say during a Denzel Washington movie – “what a guy”…
But Denzel’s fans didn’t come to a movie called The Equalizer 2 to watch their man clean up the neighbourhood literally.
They’re here to watch him take out the figurative trash, which means avenging Melissa Leo. McCall and Susan both used to work together in the CIA, it turns out.
McCall visits some more of his Best Friends at the Agency. And since we’ve never met any of them before, we can only suspect that at least one of them will turn out to be – as we say in this sort of movie – “dirty”.
No prizes for guessing who turns out to be the bad guy.
Actually, just about anyone with speaking lines is likely to be a bad guy, otherwise how can Denzel Washington equalize them?
So, thumbnail review of The Equalizer Two – pretty dumb, if slightly better than The Equalizer One.
The first half actually included some characterization, which might have been pushed along a bit more, I thought. But star Washington and long-time Denzel director Antoine Fuqua begged to differ, and it’s their money, I suppose.