Gun Guy Movie Slickguns Review: Battle of the Twos – Equalizer 2 vs Mile 22
Action movie fans have quite a few choices right now, from the superb Mission Impossible: Fallout to options like Equalizer 2 and Mile 22, neither of which have received the critical Slickguns Review kudos or the box office receipts of the latest Tom Cruise Does Crazy Stunts Live movie. However, if you’ve already seen Mission Impossible: Fallout (and you should), which currently playing movie based on a former Marine formerly working for an Intelligence Agency should you watch?
The answer is easy – Equalizer 2 – but let’s run through some comparisons anyway.
Equalizer 2 doesn’t have as many guns as one might think. Perhaps to avoid looking like a John Wick knockoff, there aren’t crazy race guns in sheep’s clothing here. Indeed, rather than gearing up from a nifty selection of pistols and gold coins after breaking through a concrete floor, Denzel Washington’s calm, collected, professional Robert McCall mostly just takes guns away from people after hitting them on the head or stabbing them. The guns he takes away from dazed or punctured people include an M1911A1 (with the hammer down), an M&P9 Compact, a Mac-10, a Glock 17, a Sig MPX, another 1911, and a scoped AR-10 variant.
Mile 22 starts off with Marky Mark’s irrational, unhinged, unprofessional James Silva wielding an HK416 with a Nightforce scope on top while his team enters a house via subterfuge. Strong start, but it’s all downhill from there – I knew this was going to be a bad time when I saw a person carrying a Glock with a Grip-Pod attached as a VFG taking point while someone with a rifle caliber SBR held back. Nothing says “We’re a Team!” like everyone carrying completely different guns and being unable to exchange mags with one another. Naturally, the guy with the MP7 is marked for death from the start.
In Equalizer 2, the team of bad guys uses their radios to communicate with each other while shooting and moving, even if, to their everlasting regret, they do not entirely act as a unit and support one another during the fight. Their “verbiage” in communicating with one another is relatively accurate, too, as far as these things go. On multiple occasions, bad guys open doors, make entry, and then just stand there in the doorframe as if waiting for an invitation to enter. One bad guy discovers this is a bad idea in a bad way.
Equalizer 2’s final gunfight takes place in a hurricane, and while there is a mention of windage, a quick look at a ballistic calculator tells me they didn’t really take extreme winds into account. Overall, the tactical stuff is enjoyable, and none of this rises to the level of “making your wife upset by wanting to tell her how wrong the movie is.”
Perhaps the most frustrating part of Mile 22 is that this elite team of CIA heavy hitters, in a fight, dissolves into a mob of individual shooters. No one is in charge, especially not Marky Mark. On second thought, John Malkovich might be more in charge of the team on the ground than Mark Wahlberg is, and John Malkovich is several thousand miles away.
If you watch Mile 22 with your non-tactically-oriented wife and have any idea how to shoot, move, and communicate, your wife is going to have a bad time.
Does It Make Sense?
If Equalizer 2’s plot is not new, at least it tosses in a few new elements. You know the plot from the trailer: McCall must exact revenge on the team of assassins who killed his friend. Along the way, he has to help a victim of sexual assault, has to mentor a talented if wayward young man, and has to help a Holocaust survivor find closure. Okay, he’s got a lot to deal with here, but he does pretty well, all things considered.
I forgot to mention the hardest task of all – he must also maintain a 5-star rating as a driver on Lyft. This he achieves with kindness when possible and force when necessary. It all works, more or less, even if it doesn’t flow with complete smoothness. In complete sincerity, I found the Holocaust survivor’s closure very touching.
Mile 22’s plot is just dumb. Some radioactive powder is missing (how? from where?), an Indonesian special forces guy has information about it (why would he?), he’s carrying a highly encrypted “disk” containing the location of the powder (how did he get it and why would he have it?), and he won’t tell them how to unlock the disk until he’s out of the country (except in this case, “out of the country” means “next to an airplane on the ground in the same country”). You’d have to be a moron to believe it, but luckily, James Silva is up to the task.
Oh yeah, and apparently, a C-130 that’s “bingo fuel” while sitting on the ground with its engines stopped needs to start the engines and take off to solve this problem. The Russians are involved, they’re in an airplane near Moscow for some reason, and they have the ability to deliver a team of trained killers anywhere in the world in 5 minutes. Right.
Innovative Kills and Moves
Both movies, surprisingly, include an eye gouge. Equalizer 2 commits and scores, while Mile 22 misses. Both movies tell us that if you ride in a gray Toyota 4Runner modified for overlanding, you put yourself at extreme risk for an imminent and violent death.
Equalizer 2 includes kills and takedowns with a credit card, a harpoon, some flour, and a teacup.
Mile 22 killed me inside.
Have I Met the Lead Actor?
I met Denzel Washington at work years ago. That is, as I walked past him, he said, “Hello, how are you,” to which I replied, “Great, how are you?” Like Robert McCall, he seemed very pleasant.
I have not met Mark Wahlberg. James Silva does not seem pleasant.
Which Character Never Leaves a Man or Woman Behind?
Robert McCall’s goal from the moment he wakes is to take care of the people he knows and to find new people who need to have their lives enriched by kindness or violence.
James Silva’s goal is to save himself by leaving everyone else to die.
Which Movie Should You See?
The answer to this question is easy: go watch Equalizer 2.
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