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Film / The Equalizer 2

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"The mistake you made was you killed my friend. So, I'm gonna kill each and every one of you. And the only disappointment in it for me is that I only get to do it once."
Robert McCall

The Equalizer 2 is a 2018 action thriller film and the sequel to 2014's The Equalizer which is itself based off of the television series of the same name. Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington return for their fourth collaboration, and Washington's first sequel in his storied career. The film also stars Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo, and was released on July 20, 2018.

After the events of the first movie, ex-Marine and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) operative Robert McCall has relocated and returned to a quiet life, helping his neighbors including a troubled teen being lured by a neighborhood gang and working as a Lyft driver. However, this is shattered when his close friend in the CIA, Susan, is killed while investigating the murder of a diplomat. This personal tragedy sends McCall reaching back into his particular set of skills to get to the bottom of it all, especially when he himself is the next target.


Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

The Equalizer 2 contains examples of:

  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Robert confronts Miles with this idea and proves it wrong when Miles refuses to shoot him.
  • Almighty Janitor: To any passerby Robert's an ordinary Lyft driver. Not someone you'd suspect of being an elite former CIA operative with powerful government connections.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Miles comes to Robert's house, the scene is played out like he is going to kill him in order to make bones with a gang, especially since McCall had just taken Miles back. Turns out, he was there to give him thanks and offers McCall to re-paint his kitchen walls.
    • The scene at York's house implies that the villains are going to attack him, further implied by his wife taking a long time to answer the front door, but it turns out to just be Robert. The bad guys were there to meet with York because he's their boss.
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  • Batman Cold Open: The film begins with Robert on a train in Turkey, disguised as a Muslim man, to rescue a girl who had been kidnapped by her father.
  • Battle in the Rain: Robert's showdown with the Big Bad's crew occurs outdoors in the middle of a hurricane.
  • Beard of Evil: One of the main villains sports a big bushy beard.
  • Big Bad: Dave York is revealed to be the mastermind behind Susan's murder.
  • Bookcase Passage: Robert is shown to be Crazy-Prepared and love reading, so it's no surprise he has a panic room hidden behind a bookcase in his apartment. When the villains turn up there looking for him, he talks Miles (who is painting his apartment) how to activate it (by removing Native Son and pressing the button it's concealing). However the villains suspect the room is there and trick Miles into thinking they have left so he leaves the panic room.
  • Bookends: Robert has since moved from his home and quit his job at Home Mart from the first film, probably due to the fact that he revealed that he was an ex-spy to his co-workers and because he had to destroy Home Mart in the process of saving his friends. He does the same thing in this film's ending, moving back into the home he shared with his wife.
  • Boring, but Practical: Compared to the deaths of Kovac (shot in the head with a spear gun) and Resnik (disemboweled by a flour dust explosion) Ari's death is simple, brutal, and effective. Robert blindsides him with two knives and utterly eviscerates the man, slicing up his arms, dragging both blades up the sides of his torso, then slashing his throat in both directions. The only death that tops this one in brutality is York's just a few minutes later.
  • Call-Back:
    • McCall is finishing up the "Top 100 Books You Must Read" list.
    • The finale is set during the hurricane season in a seaside community. In the first movie, McCall can be seen reading The Old Man and the Sea.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the potluck deleted scene, Robert confides to his neighbor Ernie that he's an ex-government assassin. Ernie doesn't believe him and has a good laugh.
  • Central Theme: The film focuses on grief and coping with loss which is seen in the secondary characters as well as Robert's struggle to deal with his wife's death.
  • Disney Villain Death: After gouging his eye out and stabbing him in the throat, Robert finishes off York by throwing him off the tower to his death.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: A still-breathing Susan is relieved to see York finding her in her room, only for York to finish the job by stabbing her fatally.
  • Car Fu: In a less common version of the trope, it's used against another passenger of the car. Robert is attacked by a hitman in the backseat of his car so he starts swerving and crashing into other cars to throw him off balance.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Before most fight scenes, Robert will flash on a few nearby objects that he will use to attack his enemies. In one scene, he admires a man's fancy metal credit card, which he then uses as a weapon.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Robert notices the fatal stab wound on Susan was positioned behind the third rib, a precise close-quarters strike that tells him this was no random robbery gone wrong, but a professional hit. When Robert finds out York is behind Susan's murder, he also knows that York, a mercenary in McCall's company, certainly delivered the killing blow and not the tweakers who attacked her. When Robert fatally wounds York in the end, he repays the favor with the same kind of stab.
  • Cold Sniper: At the climax, York takes a sniping position on a watchtower in the town Robert lived in with his wife. This ends up being a disadvantage because since he's fighting in a hurricane and is up so high, the wind knocks him off his feet and he hits his head, allowing Robert to get the drop on him.
  • Creator Thumbprint: In-Universe, Miles has a signature that's a caricature of his deceased older brother labelled as "The Hand of God."
  • Crime Reconstruction: In order to figure out the "how"s of the murdered Belgian family, Robert mentally places himself in the seat of the husband and tries to piece it together using the information he has, including body positions, exit wounds, damage or lack of in the room, and where the shell casings landed.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: Played straight then Inverted because although the back seat passenger tries to kill the driver its the back seat passenger that gets killed.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: York is the Big Bad, managing his and Robert's former teammates in assassination missions. But he, along with the other team members, are courteous enough to not start anything while York's family is nearby.
  • Evil Former Friend: York to McCall.
  • Eye Scream: One of the things Robert does to finish off York is to gouge one of his eyes out.
  • Faking the Dead: It's revealed that Robert faked his death to retire to a quiet life. York himself was ecstatic to discover his old partner alive and well. Until realizing he's investigating Susan's murder.
  • Fingore: Robert breaks the fingers of the man who let the intern get raped.
  • Gallows Humor: When York finds Susan beaten and bloodied by her assassins in her hotel room, she weakly asks him if he brought the Belgium chocolates they talked about earlier.
  • Guns Akimbo: Robert briefly dual-wields two pistols as well as a handgun and submachine gun when threatening a gang Miles nearly joins. Notably he does so for intimidation rather than for any tactical purpose.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The villains' strategy of using flashbangs backfires when Robert fills the room one of them is entering with flour dust (which is flammable).
    • Robert stabs York in the same place he stabbed Susan as a Coup de Grâce.
  • Harpoon Gun: The first of the main villains Robert kills in the climax is shot through the cheek with a harpoon gun.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the finale, York's aiming skills border on the supernatural. Hitting a target from an elevated position using a rifle equipped with good optics isn't difficult. However, bulls-eyeing targets the size of an index card or smaller, without a miss, at a couple hundred meters while fighting strong and erratic winds in the middle of a hurricane? Calling that "improbable" is being very generous indeed.
  • Improvised Weapon: As with the first film, Robert primarily uses objects in the environment to attack his enemies.
    • In the Batman Cold Open, he asks for tea and then knocks out a mook with the kettle.
    • He admires a yuppie's metal credit card, then slices him up with it.
    • In the climactic battle, he cuts open bags of flour in a bakery and turns on the fans. When someone throws in a flashbang grenade, the entire house blows up from the dust explosion.
  • Informed Ability: York and his crew are supposed to be elite operatives, nearly on a level with Robert. They don't show any of this, except for Dave York who is a good shot with a sniper rifle. During the climax they let their opponent pick the battlefield, split up instead of sticking together, look only at what is directly in front of them, enter buildings and rooms without properly clearing them, etc. Even with having York in a "sniper's nest" position, they can't even take advantage of it. Robert must have spent his entire career carrying these incompetents.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Robert walks up to a gangbanger sentry with his hands raised, then effortlessly takes him down and steals his pistol.
  • It's Personal: Robert was only helping out someone in trouble in the last film, but in the sequel, he's going after people who've caused the death of a close friend.
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: Robert realizes that the covered-up murder wasn't a suicide because the victim is right-handed and the person who shot his wife is left-handed.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: York and his men who supposedly are pros do this in the climax, despite only four of them in a town they don't know that is being hit by a storm, and predictably get killed off one by one.
  • Man of the City: Robert, much like in the first film. His actions directly contribute to the well-being of Boston, its people and local business institutions.
  • Never Suicide: The plot is kicked off by Susan Plummer investigating an assassination that is covered up to appear as a murder-suicide.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The film was released in July 2018 and takes place in September 2018, during North America's hurricane season. This comes into play as the film's climax takes place in the middle of a hurricane.
  • Nice Guy: Robert, of course. Despite being a highly trained and deadly killer, he's a kind, friendly and helpful man who is always looking out for people he likes, and is absolutely adored by his friends and neighbours.
    • Miles can count as well. He's a very respectful young man who always addresses Robert as "Mr McCall" and helps out his neighbours with odd jobs, and even when he almost descends into a life of crime, he gives his reason (other than vengeance for his brother) as wanting to be able to support his mother. He also loves to draw and paint.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: York has his eye gouged out, is slashed several times, stabbed in the chest, has the back of his neck sliced open, is thrown off the tower he's on, and then his body is washed away by the waves.
  • Nothing Personal: "I've got your name on a piece of paper in my pocket. That's all that matters." The same man tries to tell Robert that there's nothing personal about killing him; for Robert however it's entirely personal.
  • Product Placement: Need a ride? Call for one on your Lyft app today, Robert McCall thinks it's decent work.
  • Punk in the Trunk
    • After killing the hitman sent after him, the body is shown in the trunk of Robert's car before he torches it.
    • Miles is Bound and Gagged by Dave in the trunk as a hostage. Dave proceeds to shoot rounds into the car to force Robert to give himself up. When Robert doesn't he aims for the center of the trunk to kill Miles, so Robert fires a shot to burst a tire causing the height of the car to drop, making the bullet miss.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Robert breaks his rule of giving bad guys a chance to give up when confronting a group of men who drugged and raped their intern.
  • Reverse Who Dunnit: Subverted in both instances. It's made clear that a group of assassins are responsible for them, but the question of who hired them to nudge events into motion is the mystery. In fact we're never shown who originally paid them to kill a CIA deep cover asset. Dialogue with York suggests that even he does not know for certain who hired them. They simply took the job.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Robert goes on this when his old friend Susan is murdered.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: How Robert discourages Miles from joining a local gang: by first telling him to use him as his first kill then pointing a gun at him to scare him shitless.
  • Serial Escalation: While the first film pits Robert against gangsters, this time he's fighting ex-spooks just like him. The climax of the previous film takes place in a hardware store, while in this film it's an abandoned town during a hurricane. Also, while in the first film Robert never fires a handgun, in this film he fires captured handguns twice.
  • Sherlock Scan: Much like the first film, Robert utilizes this in his first two fights.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Like the end of the first film, this music makes its triumphant return at the end of the final battle just before Robert finishes off York.
  • Take That!: Robert aims one at domestic abusers in the beginning, saying that the man he's looking for is abusive, so he's not a real man.
  • Too Dumb to Live: For a highly trained military operative with Improbable Aiming Skills York should have known that an open sniper's perch during gale-force hurricane winds was a remarkably boneheaded thing to do. The mistake turns out to be fatal.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: As hinted at with the first movie, Susan is a soup lover. McCall and York even have a laugh that of course it was soup York and Susan shared when the latter helped him through a dark period.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The money shot in the trailer was a body being flung off the tower during the hurricane, so once York perches up there in sniper position, it's a pretty easy guess how he'll exit the movie.
  • Tranquil Fury: Robert barely shows any anger or distress over Susan's death or when he's going out to do his thing.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Two suspicious-looking young men ride the elevator with Susan before later trying to kill her.
  • Villainous Breakdown: York undergoes one once he realizes Robert had taken out the rest of his team. And once his attempts on Miles' life fails, he starts ranting at Robert and mocks him for his wife's death.
  • Villainous BSoD: York at the end just before McCall kills him. McCall makes a point of holding York's head up and forcing him to look him in the eye just before he kills York. The look on York's face is one of stunned horror and shock at the realization that his former friend is about to send him off to hell.
  • We Used to Be Friends: McCall and York share a good friendship until McCall realizes York was behind the murders.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Neither York's family nor their reactions to his actions and death are shown after their first and only scene.
    • Brian Plummer, Susan's husband, isn't seen after Robert helps him escape an assassination attempt.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Miles, confused and clearly traumatized by the events of the film, asks Robert "who are you?" as a Call-Back to the previous installment.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In a deleted scene, the bad guys kill the Calberts' son after he returns home to find his parents dead. In the finished cut, the mercenaries still make it perfectly clear they are going to kill him upon arrival.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Belgian tweakers who were hired to kill Susan are blown up by their employers.
  • You Killed My Father: Miles was ready to kill some rivals for a local gang, motivated by the fact that the rival gang killed his brother.

"They're going to war with me."