McCall (Denzel Washington) is now a Lyft driver quietly passing his time whilst meting out justice to those people who come into his purview. When a close friend is murdered he focuses all of his attention on finding the perpetrators.
Washington’s first ever sequel generally follows the pattern of the first film. We see McCall’s quiet everyday life and occasional bursts of violence as he delivers his version of justice. He befriends a young person on the wrong side of the tracks and looks out for them, here it is Ashton Sanders’ Miles who is teetering on the verge of joining a gang. And finally there is a larger injustice that spurs on the main plot line which is ultimately just a larger delivering of McCall’s version of justice.
I would argue that it does all of this with greater confidence and assurance than the original. The opening third of the film is given a lot of time to breathe and really give a sense of McCall’s purpose in life and its much better for it. And it’s generic storyline could easily allow you to watch both films and not know which one was the first. Something that feels oddly fitting for a film based on a tv series.
There are weaknesses of course, the main plot line is a “fridging” trope (female character murdered to spur male character into action) and the villain is so obvious from the moment they appear on screen that it’s almost an anticlimax to realise you are right during the reveal. But the action is suitably brutal and is shot well, Washington sells his character’s motivations and it’s an entertaining watch.
Perhaps Washington will continue to make more in the series given the results on screen here.