Denzel Washington is back on the big screen for The Equalizer 2 in July. The first movie — based on the '80s TV series of the same name — came out in September 2014 and was directed by Antoine Fuqua.
The original Equalizer followed Washington as Robert McCall, an ordinary employee at a Boston Home Mart. He has OCD and seems to live a normal life, but also has a secret history with violence as a retired CIA agent and trained killer who helps fight for the people who can't fight for themselves. One example: Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young prostitute under the control of Russian gangsters, who ends up in the ICU from their abuse. Most notably, McCall times how long it takes to assassinate his targets.
Washington spoke to Collider back before The Equalizer’s release in 2014 about his character’s internal crisis: relive a violent past and save innocent people, or stay away from that side of himself in order to live the peaceful life he built after his wife died.
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"He’s trying real hard," Washington told the site of the action thriller. "I actually say– there’s a line I say, 'I’ve done a lot of bad things in the past, things I’m not proud of.' I actually promised – in my back story, I promised my wife that I wouldn’t go back to being that person, but you wouldn’t have a movie then, so he’s drawn back in."
The film ends on a symbolic note: McCall fulfills his heroic duties as The Equalizer and, when someone messages him for help, he replies, "Yes."
In its first weekend, the film raked in $35 million at the box office.
The Equalizer 2 plot
In The Equalizer 2, McCall is back to save a little girl who was kidnapped from her mother and, as his main mission, seek revenge for his friend’s murder.
"Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed — but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?" the official synopsis from Sony Pictures states.
The Equalizer 2 trailer
"They killed my friend, so I’m gonna kill each and every one of them," McCall says in The Equalizer 2 trailer. "And the only disappointment is that I only get to do it once."
Watch the full trailer below:
The Equalizer 2 cast
The Equalizer 2 also stars Pedro Pascal and Moonlight's Ashton Sanders, along with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo, who returns as Susan Plummer.
Plummer, as it turns out, is the friend McCall avenges in the movie. (Note: this isn’t a spoiler if you watched the above trailer.)
Leo told Collider in 2017 that she wasn’t surprised to be called back for a sequel because Fuqua had promised he would shoot another film. "I was delighted and I was very honored with the way that they had written Susan Plummer in the second film."
More on The Equalizer 2 and the prospect of continued films
In terms of the franchise's future, Producer Jason Blumenthal told Deadline, "We hope it keeps going. We hope that the character has an audience that keeps wanting to see him. And then it becomes 'how long does Denzel feel like playing that guy.'"
"We need more Robert McCalls," he continued. "If we have the fortune to have a successful sequel — which I think Antoine and Denzel made a better film than the first — we’ll have the audience hopefully wanting more from these guys and more from that character."
On the depiction of violence, Director Fuqua told the site, "we try to be careful about it but it’s an action movie ... so we stay in our lane there." He adds, though, "there is a powerful moment where Denzel delivers something that deals with gun violence." This will certainly be something to look out for.
The Equalizer 2 hits theaters July 20.