There is no equal.
What in life can take you back to the raw, rugged, warlike life you once abandoned? For Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), it’s the murder of his friend. Nobody knows fury like Denzel Washington when he is robbed of the beautiful people in his life. The equalizer 2 goes a long way to prove that a strong desire for justice can drive a man to the precipice of crime.

But how does one achieve equality in a system deeply rooted in class stratification? How does one find justice in a “justice-kwashiorkored” society? Every thought and action of McCall (Denzel Washington) in this film takes the audience through revolutionary answers to the questions which have for long beleagured human socities.

Starring in this American thriller are Denzel Washington, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Melisa Leo and Pedro Pascal.

Denzel’s handling of the character of McCall is natural and on point as he switches between being a regular guy driving a car for a living and a sophisticated Special Forces agent. This reveals the amount of research that goes into Denzel’s understanding and portrayal of the character. During his search for the murderer of Susan, he encounters circumstances that call for his expertise as a Special Forces operative. He tears fingers apart, kicks butts and sets the town aflame.

The suspense continues to grow as he instructs (over the phone) his young friend, Ashton Sanders to get into the bookshelf so that the intruders would not have him for dinner. This scene would get you unto the tip of the cliff of suspense.

The suspense drives you crazy as the intruders drive into the silent neighbourhood where they hope to catch McCall and kill him for troubling them. The showdown here is the father of all showdowns.

There are beautiful quotes that you can take away from this movie. One of such is, “We all got to pay for our sins.” And that is what happens to the evil guys in this movie. McCall makes them pay for their sins against unsuspecting members of the public.

The conversation below ensues between McCall and a Turkish man on the train:

Turkish Passenger: First time to Turkey?

Robert McCall: No, no, no. A long time ago, a different life.

Turkish Passenger: Now you come back.

Robert McCall: Yes, I’m looking for something.

Turkish Passenger: You can find whatever you wish in Turkey.

Robert McCall: How about a man who kidnapped a little girl from her American mother?

Turkish Passenger: We’ll not be looking for such a man. It will be dangerous for you.

Robert McCall: Men like him would think that.

This reveals part of the identity of McCall and the Turkish passenger. Both of them already recognize each other but they deliberately downplay that so that the conversation can get to the killing point. There are two countries that crop up in this suspicious conversation: America and Turkey. The implication plays into the stereotype that America is a savior while Turkey is a terrorist. The arse-kicking that follows is typical of the war between the Middle East and America. McCall eventually saves the girl and return her to her mother in America.

There are a few funny lines even in the midst of the actions. “Always be nice to anybody that has access to your toothbrush,” an old man tells Denzel after paying him some coins for the ride. This is true of intimacy and its attendant problems. Anyone who uses your toothbrush has some level of intimacy with you. You should remember what is said about the enemy within. There is no brutal enemy like a friend turned enemy. Anyone who knows a lot about you can easily harm you.

The Equalizer 2 also has some financial advice woven into its diction. “It takes talent to make money but it takes brains to keep it.” The truism of this priceless line is revealed when we look around us and see how quickly money evaporates as soon as it is made – a pointer to the senselessness of many when it comes to issues of money. Your skills can earn you some dough but it takes wisdom to do what is worthwhile with your finances. So if you see “The Equalizer 2” as a Rich-dad-poor-dad kind of movie, you are not too far from the truth.

Robert McCall has lost his family. We see him looking at the picture of his wife every now and then. It seems to be the thing that keeps him going and doing what he does for strangers. Family hence is everything. Now that he does not have his immediate family anymore, he is looking to make everyone his family. And how can he do this? By lending a helping hand to strangers in distress. But does this fill up the hole in his heart? Susan, his friend doubts the possibility of that as she tells him, “Robert, I’ve been thinking. It’s great you’re helping out all these random people and everything, but it’s not going to fill that hole in your heart. I’m obligated to tell you these things because I’m the only friend you’ve got.”

The idea of Equalizer is central to this franchise. This is a very crucial commentary on the state of human society. “Equalizer” is taken from the word “equal.” The movie suggests an egalitarian society where everyone enjoys equal rights. As laudable as this idea is, is just one man strong enough to shoulder that burden of balance in the society? A classless society is surely a tall order. However, this movie is a reminder of how urgent it is for humanity to inch up on this ideal every day. And it can start from any random person who dares to achieve justice in their little way. This is how we can inspire an army of protesters, judges, and lovers in the battle for equality. This calls all of us not just to be societal police but police of conscience too. If we cannot achieve a sense of justice with self in little things, how do we achieve it with others in bigger things? There is no minor justice or injustice; justice is justice, an injustice is an injustice. Without this level of justice awareness, then we live in a precarious world as it was said of Susan, “Susan worked in a dangerous world.”

The higher message of The Equalizer franchise is, therefore, self-policing. Guard your conscience and do what is right in your little corner of the world. Don’t always look up to the people who hold offices as the best arbiters of justice. Many a time, holders of positions fail us. There is no hope if we continue to fail ourselves. Be your own hero, only then can you extend heroism to others.