It’s pretty remarkable that, up until now, Antoine Fuqua hasn’t directed a sequel. The director behind Training Day and Shooter and 2016’s The Magnificent Seven has had his chances – there is a sequel to his 2013 “White House in Peril” hit, Olympus Has Fallen, but he didn’t direct it – but it’s not until now, with the chance to do another Equalizer movie with Denzel Washington, has Fuqua finally pulled the trigger.
I’ll admit up front, I am fascinated with Fuqua’s movies. I look forward to his films with the same passion usually reserved for the Christopher Nolans and Paul Thomas Andersons of the world. On the surface, he makes action movies – but there’s always something deeper and profound lurking underneath the always heavier-than-expected violence.
And now even more so as his professional relationship with Denzel Washington – now four movies in; three of those in the last four years – has reached a point where the two are on that special actor-director, almost non-verbal wavelength. Fuqua says at this point Washington will know what to do before the two even discuss it. And Fuqua knew it from the start, back on Training Day, when Washington came up with his now famous “King Kong” line out of the blue.
Which brings us to this first sequel, Equalizer 2. When the first film came out in 2014, it almost seemed ridiculous that there would be a movie based on an ‘80s television series that was best known as a punchline by Rob Reiner’s character in The Wolf Of Wall Street. It turns out The Equalizer was a surprise hit. Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall has given up his job at Home Mart (after you kill a dozen or so people inside the store with power tools, I guess that’s to be expected) is now a Lyft driver, which puts him in front of more people who may need his help. After an old friend in the CIA is murdered, McCall vows to hunt down the killers and get his revenge. And if you remember from the first movie, you do not want to be on Robert McCall’s shit list.
Antoine Fuqua: How are you today?
Honestly, I think I have a fever.
Hey, now that’s the way to answer!
I don’t think most people want an honest answer to that question.
Well, when I ask it, I am curious. I want to know.
How is this your first sequel? Why this one?
I really wasn’t thinking about it as a sequel. I was just thinking about it as just a continuation of a story with Robert McCall. I think “sequel” is more of a business word used for marketing and other things.
“The Equalizer franchise.”
Yeah, you know what I mean? For me, it’s just a movie on its own: a continuation of Robert McCall’s story.
I guess he can’t work at Home Mart anymore after what he did in the first movie.
But him being a Lyft driver is fascinating.
Well, living on the edge of society, someone who is trying to communicate with society and also be able to help people, that’s a great job to have. Because you’ve been in the back of cars; I’ve been in the back of cars – people have conversations and you forget the driver is there, it’s almost like they are invisible. So people say things and don’t expect it to go anywhere else. So, as a driver, you can be invisible, yet present.