‘The Equalizer 2’ doesn’t have a plot

Image courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing

1/10 Every few weeks, I’ll check the views on this site and discover that my review for the first Equalizer movie has hundreds of views, for some reason. In it, I describe Denzel Washington as having come down with whatever strange disease is making Liam Neeson do all those terrible action movies, and what I eventually realized was happening was, every time there was a rumor that Denzel Washington was sick, Google would direct people to my site.

So, in the spirit of sequels, Denzel Washington is on his deathbed! His Oscar fell off his mantle and hit him and it left him brain-dead, and his rotten kids are going to pull the plug for the easy money!  

That’s not true. Mr. Washington is just fine, to the best of my knowledge. Please read my movie reviews.

As a hurricane approaches Massachusetts, Robert McCall (Washington) works as a Lyft driver, also using his movie action skills to help out the people he drives around. He also serves the role of Magic Black Man to Miles Whittaker (Ashton Sanders), a troubled youth in his apartment complex. Also, a bunch of other ex-military personnel that he worked with years ago are having a plot, and he gets wrapped up in it.

The Equalizer movies have a big, obvious problem that’s going to be familiar to anyone who used to watch Sherlock – McCall is a character without a story. He says cool lines and has cool moves, and also there are some plots that happen in his general vicinity, but he isn’t really involved in them.

This plays out several times over the course of the movie, and it makes sense – The Equalizer movies are based on an ‘80s television series that was essentially a monster-of-the-week superhero show, and this adaptation carries over the episodic feeling by having him help several people, who are supposed to have character arcs themselves but kind of don’t.

Just Write published a great breakdown of how to do flat character arcs correctly after I started writing this, and it’s helpful to look at the ways this sort of story can be told correctly so we can examine exactly what Equalizer 2 is lacking.

If your main character doesn’t change, he has to change the people around him and/or come into conflict with people who try to change him. Neither of these things happen in The Equalizer 2. The characters whose story he participates in don’t really change either – Whittaker basically decides he doesn’t want to be a drug dealer, which he already didn’t want to be, and that’s way more development than his other rescuees get. The movie cold opens with McCall in Turkey rescuing a kidnapped minor we never even meet, then continues with him beating a gang of rapists whose victim doesn’t even get a single onscreen line. Gross.

McCall’s viewpoint of right and wrong is never tested, and he doesn’t even seem to be challenged physically. Nothing ever gives him any degree of uncertainty, and he doesn’t even seem to be challenged physically. He’s just Denzel Washington and stunt double, tossing out one liners and roundhouse kicks for two hours.

The hurricane that the film is constantly hinting toward is a wonderful metaphor for The Equalizer 2 as an entire work. It doesn’t have much of anything to do with any other element of the plot. It’s never named and no dates are given, so this storm doesn’t have any historical context that might add to the film. Mostly it’s just an excuse to have Washington fight on top of a tower with the wind blowing really fast.

Action scenes that aren’t in The Raid movies don’t really impress me anymore, so with nothing else to offer, The Equalizer II is pretty forgettable.

Leopold Knopp is a UNT graduate and managing editor of The Lewisville Texan Journal. If you liked this post, you can donate to Reel Entropy here. Like Reel Entropy on Facebook and reach out to me at reelentropy@gmail.com.

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