By Darlene Donloe
Denzel Washington is not taking any shit in his old age.
In the last decade he’s played powerful, hardcore, no-nonsense characters in Equalizer, Training Day, Man on Fire, American Gangster, Book of Eli, Safe House and The Magnificent Seven.
All of his characters in those movies were proficient at whippin ass.
Gone are the heartthrob roles that made him a matinee idol. He has matured, and in so doing, has changed his image.
Washington is known for portraying memorable characters. Robert McCall is no exception.
In Equalizer 2, his first-ever sequel, Washington, once-again, continues to rain down justice on bad guys who prey on the weak. The film hits theaters nationwide on Friday, July 20.
You don’t want to make him mad. You wouldn’t like it when he gets mad. And please don’t hurt his friends. You wouldn’t like him if you hurt his friends.
|Melissa Leo and Denzel Washington|
Well, the bad guys in Equalizer 2 obviously didn’t get the memo. Just like in the first installment in 2014’s Equalizer, Washington goes after the bad guys with a vengeance. In fact, he gets downright medieval.
In Equalizer 2, just like Equalizer, Washington plays Robert McCall, a government assassin, and ruthless vigilante.
The film opens when McCall, disguised as a devout Muslim, goes on a rescue mission near Turkey to recover a little girl who has been kidnapped by her father.
To his credit, while he severely deals with the father’s friends, McCall gives the man a choice to return the child or experience his wrath. He tells the father - “There are two types of pain in this world: pain that hurts and pain that alters.” BOOM! We don’t really know what happens to the father. What we do know is that the little girl is returned to her mother.
|Denzel Washington and Ashton Sanders|
McCall exposes his soft side by chauffeuring an elderly Holocaust survivor (Orson Bean) who is looking for his long, lost sister.
When his friend, played by Melissa Leo, becomes a victim of some thugs, McCall sees nothing but red.
You don’t want to see him click his stopwatch. That’s his schtick. Every time he gets ready to cause mayhem and whip ass, he removes his glasses and clicks his stopwatch. For some reason, he didn’t do it in the last fight sequence.
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If he’s in a gracious mood, he’ll give you options on how he’s going to hurt you. For instance, he’ll let you pick which hand he’s going to break. He may even ask you which hand you write with.
Ironically, a low-key guy, McCall, who is believed to be dead by everyone except a handful of people, lives in an ordinary apartment and even has friends who live in the same complex. There is a woman who loves to garden and a teenager (Ashton Sanders Moonlight) who looks up to McCall but still has one foot in the streets. McCall, who makes his living as a LYFT driver, takes the kid under his wing.
As always, Washington delivers an even-handed performance. He can be calm and patient one minute – and cause helter-skelter the next.
The movie is extremely and graphically violent. It’s over-the-top gratuitous. It’s the kind of violence that makes you wince, close your eyes and even cover your ears so that you don’t hear bones breaking.
The last 15-20 minutes of the film plays out like a Fortnite video game. And, unlike the previous scenes, McCall doesn’t push his stopwatch. Maybe he knew that last sequence, which is gruesome, would take a bit more time than the others.
Director Antoine Fuqua, who is working with Washington for the fourth time, is good at creating a dark, moody, gritty and suspenseful drama.
The tone, the feel, the music, the anxiety and anticipation that he creates is intense.
That being said, just why all of this violence and mayhem is happening is never really made clear.
Equalizer 2 stars Washington, Melissa Leo, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, and Bill Pullman.
Equalizer 2 is Rated R (for brutal violence throughout, language, and some drug content). Running time: 2 hours.
On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Equalizer 2 gets an O (oh, yeah).