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Equality Through Violence

Evil spreads when good people do nothing. That’s the same morality from the first Equalizer, threaded into the sequel. Equalizer 2’s best scenes match the returning Denzel Washington with Ashton Sanders, a troubled but talented inner city teen. Here, Washington works through social barriers, teaching ample life lessons and the value of honesty. It’s perfect.

There’s more. Washington’s infinitely likable if dangerous Robert McCall becomes caught up in a government clean-up conspiracy. More or less, it’s an excuse to draw on the first Equalizer where McCall staged a rampage in a hardware store. Equalizer 2 doesn’t have that tier of inventiveness (McCall does find use for a harpoon gun though), although the staging in a high-grade hurricane is sensational.

Interest in McCall’s Robin Hood-like, man-of-action is still high. Washington connects with this character, a mild OCD sufferer, an intellectual, and fighting superhero. The script’s best work comes when he speaks. While satisfying to watch as McCall hacks away at women-abusing, trust fund yuppies, the soul of this man lies in his sense of right. A balance, he creates, and therein why the title connects as it does.

The only method of “equalizing” then is brutality, ranking high in cool factor, if not long term appeal

It’s disappointing when Equalizer 2 chooses not to go deeper. While delivering additional background on McCall, his justification for creative violence isn’t brought into question. He never struggles with his own actions, confident his vengeful attacks will make right. There’s space to do so as he interacts with Sanders, who becomes entangled with a local gang. McCall stops a revenge shooting, ensuring Sanders chooses the right life. And, McCall does so without slaughtering those trying to lure the kid into their ranks.

Equalizer 2 shows that if this series reaches a third entry, the violence won’t be lost. Neither will the gore. Opened skulls and oozing intestines factor in this time. What audiences reacted to in Equalizer, if the content of the sequel is the sole indicator, is the image of Washington holding a nail gun, staring down his opponent. The only method of “equalizing” then is brutality, ranking high in cool factor, if not long term appeal. Movies provide any number of killers; this domestic Rambo sticks out, but then returns to action that other than the setting, lacks the specialized spark of the predecessor.

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Video (4K UHD)

From an upscaled source, the story of Equalizer 2’s UHD is the HDR pass. Intense black levels create awesome image density, backed by stellar highlights, at times reaching blinding brightness. In the opening scene on a darkened train, lights on the interior walls stick out to an exaggerated degree. That level of range gives full life to city exteriors, using both ends of the spectrum to their fullest.

While some scenes add a mild layer of noise to roughen up the imagery (action scenes primarily), clarity is a worthy attribute. Digital cinematography maintains a consistent, clean veneer. Sony’s encode introduces no artifacts into this slick source.

Resolution doesn’t match the highest tier of UHD’s due to the source, but Equalizer 2 isn’t without firm details. Close-ups render texture exquisitely. Exteriors bring out the nuance in buildings. Even in the midst of hurricane force winds and rain, the finale still finds its way to produce strong definition.

A fair color palette is established through accurate flesh tones and density. Primaries stand out, giving vibrancy to the sets. Blood isn’t a subtle addition. For the climax, everything pushes blue. That’s logical considering the storm, chilling the screen to visually capture the discomfort of the winds.

Video (Blu-ray)

Fighting off some instances of crush, the Blu-ray still holds up. Resolution maintains sharpness, outputting texture in droves. Plus, losing the minimal amount of shadow detail is offset by the image’s contrast.

The elder format doesn’t handle the source noise with the same perfection as the UHD, although like the crush, it’s ultimately minor. Little is lost. Color looks almost too saturated on Equalizer 2’s 1080p presentation, giving McCall’s blue jacket during a raid on gang members a distracting neon-like glow. Otherwise, it’s bright but fine.

Audio

Early on, it might seem as Equalizer 2 won’t play with its Atmos track. Most of the audio focuses on ambiance. That serves the story as thunder slowly intensifies as the hurricane moves closer to shore. A small rumble in the sub grows as time passes. So too does the intensity of the rear channel effects. Overall cities come alive with bustling activity in each speaker, and a nice spread in the front soundstage.

Then the hurricane strikes, and suddenly this Atmos track earns reference stamp. Wind and rain sweep about in a convincing soundfield, totally wrapped around the listeners. Dynamics elevate too, making sure the subwoofer delivers the wind’s weight. Rear channels take a constant stream of debris between speakers, traveling side-to-side with convincing motion. It’s kinetic and full, flawless mixing that escalates tension.

Extras

Nothing resides on the UHD. Switch over to Blu-ray for the “Retribution Mode,” with scene specific commentary and pop-up footage interspersed. This extends the movie by 20-minutes. Another feature is an Equalizer trivia track, just in case there isn’t enough happening over the movie.

Eleven deleted/extended scenes stretch to 23-minutes. From here, it’s a series of three featurettes, none longer than seven minutes, detailing the action, Washington’s first sequel, and the whole cast.

The Equalizer 2
  • Video (4K UHD)
  • Video (Blu-ray)
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

Denzel Washington stars in his first sequel and Equalizer 2 is a great choice, but the end result doesn’t explore an interesting lead character.

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The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional 15 Equalizer 2 screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 20,000+ already in our library), 60+ exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 20 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: