Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves? Check out our review The Equalizer 2 starring Denzel Washington, which arrives on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 121 minutes
Genre: Action/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Denzel Washington, Melissa Leo, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Written by:Richard Wenk based on the TV series by Michael Sloan & Richard Lindheim
Region Code: A

Release Date: December 11, 2018
"There is No Equal"

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My Take:

If you have a problem and there is nowhere else to turn, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall will deliver the vigilante justice you seek. This time, however, McCall's past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins who'll stop at nothing to destroy him.

The Equalizer was directed by the very capable Antoine Fuqua and was a re-imagined take on the TV series of the same name by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. It was an action/thriller that pulled an old school operative out of retirement to face daunting odds. Denzel Washington of course isn’t just anybody and the retooling of the popular TV series in conjunction with him had excellent possibilities and delivered.

When I saw the trailer for The Equalizer 2 I wasn’t especially impressed as it looked like a re-hashing of the first film so, I didn’t bother to check it out when it was in theaters. It arrived for review and I decided to keep expectations in check. The entire filmmaking team from the first film returned for the sequel. Whether that’s a good or bad thing will largely depend on the film’s outcome. I liked the first film. Here are some of my thoughts on it:

As I sat down to watch it I couldn’t help but have elevated expectations, despite the noticeably formulaic premise and potential for eye rolling action. Well I have to say that it all comes together pretty well. I mean don’t get me wrong this isn’t Washington’s best work and there is very little here that is original but The Equalizer is lots of fun. I am most definitely a fan of the vigilante taking on all comers type theme and here Washington plays the quiet cool, simmering dispenser of justice as only he can.

At times it teeters on ostentatious but Fuqua’s direction keeps focus intact by rarely overplaying the action or watering down the details. The screenplay by Richard Wenk does a nice job with developing the characters and correlating them both interpersonally and tonally. The film starts off stronger than it finishes as the closer it gets to the finale the more contrived it feels but luckily it hangs on without completely coming off of the rails.

So, after watching The Equalizer 2 I think it would be fair to say that I enjoyed it but, not as much as the original. It certainly touches upon the right thematic elements, like the first film but, the narrative is too similar and the strength/integration of the characters within the construct of the plot are weaker, so you care less about them. I found myself taken out of the story a few times by overreaching moments that make little sense other than to showcase Robert’s prowess. The one involving his encounter with the drug dealers in their apartment is an example. I also figured out the entire plot, including who the primary villain, within the first 25 minutes of the film.

I did miss the presence of a true adversary (like the one played by Marton Csokas in the first film) to offset Robert’s steely, confident and indomitable stature. I also felt like the character of Miles (a local teen that Robert has decided to “look after”) was unnecessary especially given the primary storyline. Luckily, many of the things I enjoyed about The Equalizer were present here, which helped keep things rolling. So, to sum up, The Equalizer 2, like its predecessor, is solid popcorn entertainment. This time around the development of the characters and story doesn’t prove as compelling so checking one’s brain at the door is a must to get the most from it.

Hey, it’s Denzel Washington kicking some butt and delivering lines as only he can. At the end of the day, it’s all good.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong bloody violence and language throughout, and some drug content.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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The Equalizer 2 comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD The Equalizer 2 was derived from a 2.8K source. I wasn’t able to determine if it was rendered from a 2K or 4K DI.

The 1080p transfer of The Equalizer 2 is a good one and this Ultra HD rendering takes it up a notch with a discernible increase in detail and visual depth. This is an action-based film that was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. This isn’t an overtly colorful film. Other than several well-chosen moments where sepia tones and rich chromatic variants are used, the film doesn’t make for especially eye-catching levels of color. Over the course of the film the presentation’s earth toned and primary colors benefited from UHD's wider color gamut but, not to a defining degree.

The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes is immediately noticeable. The cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. The blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels, looked very natural. The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off the superb rendering of detail. At times, the level of minutia is excellent, as even the finest nuance in the physical features, costumes, interior sets and exterior venues is resolvable.

The application of high dynamic range takes on a lesser role in this presentation but, this seems to coincide more with the film’s innate elements rather than the nature of the encode. It wasn’t something that I missed based upon what I was seeing onscreen. I think that The Equalizer 2 most definitely benefitted from the Ultra HD treatment. The improvement over its 1080p counterpart is a discernible one that elevated the experience of watching the film. I thought it looked simply terrific.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. During the first act, there are several instances where the mix generates a noticeable improvement in dimension and depth of field.

Beginning with the opening scene aboard the train in Turkey, there are a host of sounds that utilize the overhead channels, creating an involving listening experience. This continues with the film’s action-based sequences, most notably the finale during chapters 14 and 15, that convey the breadth/expanse of the soundstage as the track bristles with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects. While these sequences sound very good in the standard mix, they are taken to the next level in the Amos mix.

Overall, I would say that viewing The Equalizer 2 in Ultra HD with the Dolby Atmos mix definitely heightened the experience of watching the film.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 


Audio: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
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  • Surround Sound presentation: 
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  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


The Equalizer 2 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. The Equalizer 2 looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

The DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio soundtrack features crystal clear dialog, robust dynamics and when called upon, an engaging surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension, and directional effects. This worked hand in hand with a resonating and potent low end that underscored the film’s thematic tone. I found this to be an involving audio presentation that complimented the video resulting in an entertaining viewing experience that enhanced the source material.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: The Equalizer 2 Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: The Equalizer 2 Blu-ray
    • “Retribution Mode” with Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua
    • 11 Deleted & Extended Scenes
    • “Denzel as McCall: Round Two” Featurette
    • The Equalizer 2 Pop Up Trivia Track
    • “Seconds Till Death: Action Breakdown”
    • “Through Antoine’s Lens: The Cast”
    • Two NBA Promos
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Based on the TV Series by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim The Equalizer 2 is a solid thriller that, while not quite as good as its predecessor, makes for top notch popcorn entertainment that is fun to watch. It comes to Blu-ray in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, featuring an excellent Ultra HD video rendering, top notch high definition video, room filling lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and a fair supplemental package. If you’re a fan of the first film The Equalizer 2 is worth considering, if for no other reason than to experience it on Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems