John is a junior in his second year of Journalism. He likes to write, play video games, and watch movies.
The Man Of No Equal: The Equalizer Review
September 13, 2019
Witty, combative dialogue, actor Denzel Washington, and Russian mobsters would seem like a perfect recipe for a cliche action movie. Yet The Equalizer surpasses most action flicks by focusing more on character motivations than simple, blunt force action.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a retired CIA operative who faked his death to get away from a violent lifestyle. But after years of killing people, he has transformed. Realizing his debt to society, he decides to find forgiveness in helping people.
However, McCall takes it a little too far when he brutally murders a few Russian traffickers over the abuse of a 17-year-old prostitute. Enter Nikolai Itchenko, a Russian gang leader and sociopath out for blood upon the discovery of his men being slaughtered and the loss of millions in his trafficking business. McCall doesn’t stop there; he also blows up some of Itchenko’s property, making their conflict inevitable.
The best scene in the movie is when the two meet face to face in a restaurant and exchange ideologies. Itchenko is a full-on psycho who doesn’t care about anything or anyone except himself. To him, McCall is nothing more than an inconvenience. Yet they’re back-and-forth at each other every chance they get. The dialogue is not just riveting, but also reinforces them as intelligent characters.
I like how the movie focuses more on character motivation than story and action. It’s a comparison of a one-track mindset versus someone who cares about everybody. The result is that we see that their respective strengths are also their respective weaknesses.
In the final showdown, McCall is back to his old ways, setting up several ingenious traps made out of gardening and construction materials inside a cavernous Home Depot. This final, climactic scene feels like something out of a horror movie with its dark atmosphere and haunting soundtrack, revealing McCall’s previously restrained dark side. This is one action flick which is definitely worth your time.
The Unequalizer: (The Equalizer 2)
Have you ever gotten in a car with someone and knew where you were supposed to be going, then they take a completely different route and you’re lost? Welcome to The Equalizer 2. It’s not necessarily bad, but the first hour of this movie drags on and the crammed subplots are just downright uninteresting. While I enjoyed the movie, I’d have to say that, unlike the first Equalizer, the pacing is slow at best and frustrating at worst.
The basic plot revolves around the fact that one of McCall’s friends from the first movie is murdered in a robbery gone wrong. McCall quickly catches on that something more is involved that just bad luck, and goes to an old partner for help. The only problem is that that partner is still angry that McCall faked his death to leave the darkness of his past behind.
That’s all of the story I can really talk about without spoiling the rest of it, but if you’re on the fence about whether this movie is worth two-plus hours of your time, the final showdown is easily the best climax of the two movies. Unfortunately, the ending leaves a lot to be desired, raising more questions than answers, so whether or not you walk away satisfied is questionable.
Overall, while it’s a solid sequel and all things being “equal,” The Equalizer 2 just doesn’t live up to its predecessor. It again focuses on the philosophical differences between McCall and his antagonists, yet the conflict is far more personal this time, a fact which removes the moral high ground that the first movie relied on so well. We see McCall transform from a hunted vigilante to a vengeful hunter, but it’s a transformation that doesn’t always work.