The Equalizer 2

The guardian angel of vigilantism, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), keeps watch over his Lyft passengers as he cruises around the streets of Boston. But when his former handler and best friend Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) is brutally murdered in Brussels, McCall finds himself confronting his past life in "The Equalizer 2."

Laura's Review: C+

Director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington team up for the fourth time in what is also each's first sequel, noting new avenues to explore in returning screenwriter Richard Wenk's screenplay. But Wenk may have stuffed one too many plotlines into McCall's return, the resulting film often feeling disjointed, its central crime more MacGuffin than mystery to be solved. Bostonians should enjoy seeing their city featured prominently, McCall's apartment a vintage beauty on Massachusetts Avenue. The film begins with a nod to its predecessor, a disguised McCall on a Turkish train to rescue a young girl kidnapped by an abusive, vengeful father. He's reading Ta-nehisi Coates’ 'Between the World and Me,' the book both a link to the book shop owned by the girl's mother and the young neighborhood man, Miles (Ashton Sanders, "Moonlight"), he will take under his wing. Back in Boston, mission anonymously accomplished, McCall keeps an eye on his passengers, including regular Sam Rubinstein (Orson Bean), the old Jewish man trying to reclaim an oil painting of his sister who he hasn't seen since they were separated in separate Nazi death camps. Meanwhile, we witness a team of Americans viciously kill a couple in Brussels, setting it up as a murder-suicide. McCall's barely enjoyed a bowl of soup and some soul-baring with Susan than she's off to investigate. Fuqua's film jumps all over the place. A courtyard garden is destroyed and McCall shows his community colors. A distraught woman is rolled into his Lyft by a young businessman and McCall returns to wreck havoc with a credit card. Thugs get blown up in Brussels. Sam laments the loss of a court case. Miles begins to apply his interest in art. McCall reconnects with the old partner who thought he was dead, Dave York (Nathan Fillion lookalike Pedro Pascal), in D.C. Back in Boston, McCall susses out a back seat assassin and extracts Miles from a bad influence. By the time we get to the big hurricane finale in McCall's old home in Marshfield's Brant Rock, the reason for his being there has devolved into simply 'bad guys,' the identity of their leader all too easy to pinpoint. Fuqua's production is nice, cinematographer Oliver Wood ("Jack Reacher: Never Go Back") using McCall's Lyft drives as both window to its driver's thinking and literal window to downtown Boston. McCall's apartment is a quiet, old world space whose nooks and crannies prove practical for a former spook. Washington and Leo enjoy such easy chemistry, it is a shame she's gone from the film so early (as her husband Brian, Bill Pullman has little to do). Fight scenes are quick, violent and rooted in reality. "The Equalizer 2," though, skips around too much and its big finale is nothing special despite its hurricane winds. This is the type of movie that will entertain in the moment and be forgotten a few hours later. Grade:

Robin's Review: DNS