2014’s The Equalizer was a solid box office hit that was pleasantly enjoyed by the vast majority of audiences. Like any moderate box office success in today’s Hollywood, a sequel was announced that once again put Denzel Washington, screenwriter Richard Wenk, and director Antoine Fuqua together for a new project. Unfortunately unlike their last production, The Magnificent Seven, The Equalizer 2 is nothing more than a simple carbon copy of the first film and it shows.
Former CIA agent Robert McCall (Washington) is back, but this time instead of taking down the Russian mafia, he spends his time keeping a low profile in New York City, driving a Lyft and trying to keep a local artist out of harm’s way. All that changes when he learns that one of his longtime friends from the agency has been murdered in a cover-up attempt. With his only remaining friend now dead, McCall decides to return to his old ways once again and find the group responsible.
You can’t shake the feeling that the production team didn’t have a plan on how to proceed with a sequel because what little plot is here is repeated from the original. Someone close to Robert dies early on and it’s up to him to come out of retirement and hunt down the killer. There is even the subplot of someone who is in the wrong place at the wrong time needing his help to get on the right path. It’s bad enough that the plot is unoriginal, but the pace is so slow it’s like they forgot the plot halfway through. The film opens with a double murder in Belgium and then goes about 45 minutes without mentioning the guys who did it or why. Time is killed with multiple subplots that aren’t important to the main story and aren’t very interesting.
Once again Denzel Washington is the best part of a bad movie, but his charismatic hitman persona can only go so far because there isn’t anything to work with. There are a couple of good action scenes and the ending plays out like a Call of Duty cinematic, but The Equalizer 2 is overall a disappointment for the summer box office season.