Film review: Despite its flaws The Equalizer 2 is an electrifying slice of action thriller cinema

The Equalizer 2. Pictured: Denzel Washington as Robert McCall. Picture: PA PHOTO/SONY PICTURES ENTE

The Equalizer 2. Pictured: Denzel Washington as Robert McCall. Picture: PA PHOTO/SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC/GLEN WILSON

As gripping as Antoine Fuqua’s pulpy, hard-boiled action thriller The Equalizer (2014) was it was not a film to which a sequel seemed likely or, indeed, necessary.

Yet, as unexpected as the return of retired special forces agent turned vigilante Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) may be, it is nonetheless a welcome one.

Picking up some time after the events of the first film we find McCall still continuing to aid the less fortunate and meting out swift, brutal justice to those who provoke his ire.

When his friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is murdered he embarks on a merciless quest for vengeance.

Fuqua, as with the first instalment, skilfully balances the quieter moments of McCall’s life with the wince-inducing violence to which he is frequently forced to resort; his affectionate interactions with troubled youth Miles (Ashton Sanders), while occasionally heavy-handed, serve as an effective counterpoint to his visceral brawls with abusive Wall Street business-types, Turkish mobsters and shady government operatives.

Thrilling as these scenes are, there’s an overwhelming feeling that the director is following the same beats as the first film and does little to add any thing fresh to invigorate his sequel.

These gripes aside, Fuqua’s film remains a thoroughly enjoyable affair, bolstered by Washington’s charismatic turn, his caring, dogged protagonist a refreshing change from the hard-drinking, cynical anti-hero that has become a regular staple of the genre.

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