Those of you that have seen Equalizer 2 will know just how detailed the film’s brutal violence is, as Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall repeatedly enacts his unique brand of vigilante justice.
Of course, having an actor of Denzel Washington’s quality means that viewers really feel each kick, punch and broken finger.
But director Antoine Fuqua, who oversaw the original “Equalizer,” too, went to extreme lengths to get the detail and specificities of the violence right, even recruiting Navy Seals and Special Forces soldiers to make sure these moments were authentic.
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“When I first read the script it was written very expressively,” Fuqua recently recalled to me. “There was something in the writing that was hard to show in film, because it was written a certain way.”
“I kind of broke it down, my way of thinking was, I know a lot guys that are Navy Seals and Special Forces guys, so I had a couple of conversations with them, and a couple of doctors, just about the science of being in a situation like that if you are a highly trained person.”
“Most of the time they see things slower, because they are trained to be calm in battle, they are trained to go towards the firefight, your senses become heightened because that is what you are trained to do.”
“I was trying to emphasize that in a visual way, to show that it wasn’t a superhero power. I was trying to say, it is a thing that there are violent men and there are men of violence.”
“Violent men are guys that want to just pick a fight and normally they are not that tough, or as tough as they think they are. Men of violence are people that study, they practice, they live and breath violence, so their body behavior when it happens is completely different to ours.”
“Their pupils dilate, more light gets in, all these things that doctors said that I tried to find a way of showing.”
“Richard would write a scene, like writers do, where the violence is expressed. But we take it higher. I have a guy working with me who was former SAS, and he would go through the room and discuss with the stunt guys the type of thing that these sort of guys might do.”
“They wouldn’t necessarily take a guy completely out. They might just break his fingers. Just simple [laughs]. He is interesting."
"Because he would do little things, like shake my hand, put a little pressure point on my hand, and he would drop me down to my knees. It was those little simple things that were painful. You have got to know that kind of stuff to do these movies.”
WARNING: There are SPOILERS ahead for “Equalizer 2.” So please don’t read ahead if you are yet to watch the sequel.
But one of the most violent scenes in “Equalizer 2” was actually a tip of the hat to “Game Of Thrones.”
That’s because “Equalizer 2’s” Pedro Pascal, who, towards the end of the film, is revealed to be a villain, actually has his eye gauged out by Denzel Washington during their final coming together.
I asked Fuqua about that moment, and whether it was intended as a nod to Pascal’s death in “Game Of Thrones,” which saw The Mountain pop both of his character Oberyn Martell’s eyes.
“Yeah, there’s a little bit of a wink there,” admitted Fuqua. “It was fun. You got to have to have some fun. There is a big audience with ‘Game Of Thrones’ and Pedro is a pretty loved guy, we love him, so we wanted to have some fun with that.”