To bet on Antoine Fuqua when putting him in front of an action thriller is to do it on a winning horse. The North American director continues without disappointing 20 years after his estimable debut with ‘Assassins of replacement’ in 1998, demonstrating again and again his good hand for the most testosteronic stories as he has demonstrated in works like ‘Bait’, ‘Shooter.
However, among all his feature films, the one that continues to shine with the same force as in distant 2001 when it premiered is the flawless ‘Training Day’: a policeman who won Denzel Washington the Oscar for best leading actor and would be the first of his three collaborations with Fuqua, who has made him the new action hero in years in the fantastic ‘The protector’ and in his even better sequel ‘The Equalizer 2’.
Observing altogether both parts of the ‘The Equalizer’, the same pattern can be seen in it in some superhero franchises. This consists of offering a first delivery that does not finish taking off, focusing much of its efforts on presenting us the hero, his world and his status quo for, and in the continuation, exploiting what has already been established in a more ambitious, complete, personal project and on track with greater precision.
‘The Equalizer 2’, totally continuity in terms of formula and style is concerned, offers notable improvements over its predecessor, focused especially on the fantastic treatment of its protagonist. On this occasion, the plot invites to establish a more personal and human connection with a Robert McCall who continues to waste charisma projected through a superb Denzel Washington that acts with the autopilot on; reaffirming the tape as one of those action exercises in which the character prevails over gunpowder and chaos.
The latter is evident by focusing attention on the direction of an Antoine Fuqua who takes his time to make sure that each turn and each decision matters, delaying the footage until a tight two hours in which he delves into the psyche, the routine and McCall’s open wounds; relegating the wild and forceful action sequences mark of the house that peppers the whole to a second plane.
With a constant crescendo sensation, distilled through its simmering, ‘The Equalizer 2’ anticipates an authentic storm – both literal and metaphorical – that catches without concessions to the respectable until it explodes in an amazing set piece that transforms the third act of the film in a kind of urban spaghetti western that closes a story almost round.
‘The Equalizer 2’ greatly exceeds its predecessor in multiple aspects, polishing the virtues already present in the first delivery to shape a first-class entertainment. With characters that matter and with whom empathy emerges in an instantaneous and natural way, with a spectacular, violent and intelligently dosed action, and with an impeccable Denzel Washington, the only thing that can be asked of Antoine Fuqua is that he continues with a new installment that closes a potential trilogy unexpectedly satisfactory.