Under the Radar

‘The Equalizer 2’: Sometimes the Past Should Be Past

Denzel Washington and Ashton Sanders in "The Equalizer 2." (Glen Wilson/Sony Pictures Entertainment)

2014's "The Equalizer" cast Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a former operator with a mysterious past. He was living quietly, working in a home improvement warehouse, when circumstances required him to reactivate his kickass skills.

"The Equalizer 2" (out now on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital) aims to demystify that past, dredging up details of McCall's previous service and forcing him to face off with former allies turned enemies.

Director Antoine Fuqua and Washington know what they're doing, and "The Equalizer 2" is a good movie. But someone decided that the audience needed to understand Robert and give him some depth. We really could've used three or four more Mysterious McCall movies before anyone decided to give him more depth. Denzel Washington can convey all the depth needed without any explanation.

In a way, this is a reminder of what happened to Tom Cruise in the Jack Reacher movies. The first (directed by Christopher McQuarrie) was a pure action movie that showed a mystery man kicking butt as he roamed the country. "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" tried to explain the man -- at the expense of the action's forward momentum.

"The Equalizer 2" is a better movie than "Never Go Back," but the fact remains that its best scene (the opening on a train) has nothing to do with the complicated plot.

That said, it would be great if Fuqua and Washington made four or five additional Equalizer movies. Washington is having a blast, and it's always fun to see him start his stopwatch as he dispatches the bad guys.

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