One of my favorite recent Denzel Washington roles was his quiet, intense and explosive take on fixer Robert McCall.
He's back for more in the terrific sequel THE EQUALIZER 2.
Like a James Bond flick, the opening sequence has little to do with the rest of the film but serves up a tense & terrific action sequence as McCall retrieves a kidnapped little girl aboard a train outside Turkey.
In that one scene, returning Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Magnificent Seven) and Denzel immerse you back into McCall's action modus operandi, equal parts Zen and destruction in all the right ways.
Post credits, we are immersed in a "24"/ "Bourne Identity" style murder mystery that tests alliances, loyalties and trust in all the right ways for McCall and the audience.
Pedro Pescal (Kingsman, Game of Thrones) is an old special forces buddy, Melissa Leo (The Fighter) is McCall's government handler thats key to the mystery and Bill Pullman (Independence Day) is her husband and friend of McCall's.
It's also a clever story telling device to have McCall moonlighting as the most lethal Lyft driver in the US. If you get into his car, be prepared for him to take action.
There's perhaps one too many side stories involving a young neighbor that's dangerously drifting between being in a gang and a promising art career, but it does set up the best "oh-oh, my Dad's crashing this party to take me home" scene of all time.
Fleshing out the damaged man from the first film, Washington gives us a flawed hero sworn to help and protect where the government cant. Denzel gives him just enough odd traits and "special skills" to keep everything believable.
The ending falls prey to throwing everything but the kitchen sink on screen, with a hurricane blowing in at the exact moment Denzel squares off against all the bad guys, but Fuqua stages it with style, blowing the doors off of expectations and every building and car in sight.
It's pretty cool to see terrific actors like Liam Neeson and Washington open a new chapter in their careers at this stage in life as action heroes. Between this and The Magnificent Seven (also directed by Fuqua) Washington establishes himself as a bad ass/good guy in all the right ways.
This is the first time in his career that Denzel's made a sequel to one of his movies. You can see why. McCall's a terrific character that leaves you wanting more.
Here's hoping there's a Part 3, because THE EQUALIZER 2 is just as good, if not better than the first, earning an action packed, enjoyable A.