I don’t think there is any actor who is as effortlessly charismatic as Denzel Washington. Put his character which often doubles for his personality in any situation and he can act like he belongs. Denzel carries The Equalizer II even more so than the overrated first film which got a few style points off being started as a Tony Scott pic (Man on Fire, Deja Vu), but director Antoine Fuqua doesn’t have much style and has very much rode his career in collaborating with Denzel Washington. Fuqua shows some improvement in regards to staging a climax compared to his mediocre Magnificent Seven remake, but apart from three or four really cool elliptic shots and leaning on Denzel Washington he has no distinguishable style.
Often because the director’s movies are tonally uneven it helps to have Denzel Washington as a counterbalance someone who can have a serious heart to heart 2 minutes after confronting a gang with a dual pistol & Uzi. He brings just as much heft to his action scenes as he does his dramatic ones to fulfill the needs of the story and the audience, regardless of how monotonous the story is or how undemanding the audience might be. His conviction in delivering the material makes him the perfect example of someone who has honed their craft, even at 63 he can continue to surprise dramatically (not so much here but in last year’s otherwise middling Roman J. Israel Esq. for which he was deservedly Oscar-nominated), and in aging he only seems to do it more effortlessly, leaning just as much on his charisma and gravitas as he does his physicality and six-foot frame. It’s just a shame that so often the movie shows no desire to meet him half-way.
I enjoyed this movie more than the last, probably because I saw this one in the theatre, where the setting demands 100% of your attention. So when someone turns on their phone multiple times especially during the climax of the movie it is infuriating to me and everyone around us. I do not get angry when I driving in traffic or dealing with poor customer service, I can’t even muster up the courage to say to the restaurant they got my order wrong, it’s just here. And it took me a long time to gather the courage to say something because rarely anyone else does, I worry every time the person I reasonably tell to turn off their phone might not be so reasonable they always are, but it wears on you. And depending on the film and context I might not be so nice about it either especially to a person too stupid or ignorant to recognize they’re depriving 250 people of their hard-earned relaxation during their time off. People spend a lot of money to go to the movies now on average $15 a person, so when you’re in a dark auditorium, a sensory deprived environment illuminated only by a screen, it’s impossible not to disturb anyone. Please be more considerate and show some respect for others. Denzel, one of the greatest movie stars is up on screen. If you don’t you might get Equalized.
- Why didn’t they call this movie The Sequelizer?