In all of his years in the film industry, Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington has never been in a movie sequel. Until now. Director Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer 2” changes that and marks the first time Washington has returned as a character he has previously portrayed.
In “The Equalizer” (2014), Washington played Robert McCall, the manager of a hardware store in the Northeast part of the United States. In “The Equalizer 2,” McCall is a Lyft driver who takes nefarious characters to and from their destinations.
“The Equalizer 2” is a violent film, but the violence is justified within the parameters of the storyline. Also returning to the story are Oscar-winner Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) as Susan Plummer and Bill Pullman (“Independence Day”) as Brian Plummer. The duo portrays a married couple who have stayed in contact with McCall, even though he is “officially dead.” I do not mind vigilante-based movies because the heroes have set rules and moral codes that guide them through their journeys. For instance, the Bruce Willis-led “Death Wish,” in which hero Dr. Paul Kersey helps people in the hospital get back on their feet. Most recently, Willis starred in an update of “The Magnificent Seven” (2016). The film, also directed by Fuqua and starring Washington, allowed Willis to bring his street-wise sensibilities to an Old West setting. The closest Washington has come to a remake was his starring role in Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme’s update of the “The Manchurian Candidate” in 2004 in which Washington plays a brain-washed soldier returning from a war. His character Ben Marco was played by Frank Sinatra played in the original John Frankenheimer classic. A subplot in “The Equalizer 2” deals with an elderly person who is thought to suffer from dementia and finds out that he wasn’t crazy. I’m all in when the heroes are justified in their calling.
All in all, “The Equalizer 2” does what it’s supposed to do. It entertains us for the brief time we spend as members of the audience.