The Equalizer 2: True Turkish Tea Recipe

Year Released: 2018
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Melissa Leo, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman
(R, 129 min.)
Action and Adventure, Mystery and Suspense


“They killed my friend. So I’m going to kill each and every one of them. And the only disappointment is that I only get to do it once.”  –Robert McCall

Can we ever get enough of Denzel?  Not hardly.  Even if this film doesn’t draw on his deeper acting talents, we love him just the same.  An enjoyable thriller, well paced and poignant.  And in some cases, better than the original.

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 Susan Plummer -- 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.

Sometimes I quote other critics, but this time I’m going to real people instead of those tired “reel” people.   Let’s hear from one KJ Proulx, who says, 

Overall, The Equalizer 2 does almost everything that the first film failed to do for me. It creates a compelling reason for him to need to dive into his past, it brings in new supporting characters that added a much-needed depth to the overall emotional core, and the action sequences didn't feel as much like set pieces as they did in the original movie. 

Even critics who were at best luke-warm about this film all admit that it is Denzel Washington that carries it beyond your standard vigilante flick.  And Denzel is perfect at playing not only heroic characters, but even better when he gets his acting teeth into a pretty flawed if not evil one.  Consider his first out of four pairing with Director Antoine Fuqua, Training Day (2001), where Washington received an Oscar for Best Actor. His corrupt detective Alonzo Harris is a complex brew of surface amiability and underlying ruthless ambition

And who can forget his role as the suave villain Frank Lucas in 2007’s American Gangster, who, as a good businessman, avoids the middleman, traveling on horseback through the jungle to the poppy fields of Southeast Asia in order to buy the heroin direct. Such a patriot, too, as Lucas helps the military bogged down in that quagmire of Vietnam by employing a few good men to transport it back home. 

And let’s not forget Denzel in 2012’s Flight, a wonderful pilot and flawed alcoholic who manages to keep us rooting for him even as his arrogance and self-destructive nature sabotage every step toward recovery; a true testimony to his skill and presence as an actor.

Not to mention Denzel’s Oscar worthy portrayal of a washed up Negro League homerun legend in 2016’s Fences, who underneath his charm reveals mercurial peevishness, mood swings, and easy betrayals.  And under the smiling veneer, a bitterness that rages at his soul. 

What works in both Equalizer films is that Robert McCall’s underlying decency is marinated in brutal violence when necessary.  He is even vain enough to time his killing and all around mayhem on a stopwatch.  We see that quality when he confronts a group of wealthy men who have abused an intern and put her in the Lyft car he now drives for a living:

Man #1: Look, pay yourself whatever, and, uh, give yourself a nice tip, huh?
Robert McCall: Thank you. Thank you. You’re not going to ask me if she got home okay?
Man #1: She get home okay?
Robert McCall: No. Took her to Mass General. They’re pumping her stomach as we speak. What’s her name? You don’t know, do you? Okay. This is the point where usually I’d give you a chance to do the right thing, but not tonight. Tonight I’m going to need your cameras, cell phones, anything you might have used to record what you did to her.
[The man goes and locks the front door and McCall sets his timer]
Man #1: You knocked on the wrong door tonight, Pops.
[As the man goes to hit McCall, McCall hits back and takes three of the men in 29 seconds]

Perhaps the most compelling character Robert McCall helps is Miles Whittaker (Ashton Sanders who impressed us in 2016’s Moonlight).  He is a somewhat mouthy neighbor who banters with McCall as the latter attempts to repaint a graffiti covered wall.  McCall tries to keep the teen away from the easy money of selling drugs by hiring him to repaint the wall and to add a custom mural to it.

Miles Whittaker: You know, I got, got a special talent.
Robert McCall: Yes, you do. And it takes talent to make money. But it takes brains to keep it, Miles.
Miles Whittaker: Well, I’m out here making my money.
Robert McCall: Short money, Miles. That’s short money.

It is this kind of give and take between the two and their ultimate loyalty to each other that anchor much of the film. Always bargaining for more money for the painting jobs McCall gives him, Miles is flippant and sassy, two qualities that break through the inner anguish McCall hides from almost everyone.

The action scenes are great, too, especially an attempted assassination of McCall as he picks up a ride.  Only his great driving keeps the killer at bay, as McCall wheels around self-created hairpin turns to body slam him against the car’s interior.

Not to mention the final showdown at McCall’s old beach house, where he confronts his old ghosts and a deadly team of assassins, as well as a hurricane bearing down on them all.

An adrenaline filled ride that keeps you intrigued throughout.  See it now if you missed out last summer.

–Kathy Borich
3 1/2 Drums


Film-Loving Foodie 

In one of the early scenes of the film we find former marine and black ops commando Robert McCall calmly drinking tea in a train compartment in Turkey. He is dressed like the natives in Muslim garb, with a full beard and requisite white head covering.  

But his polite chatter and appearance are a guise for his true mission, which is to rescue and girl kidnapped from her American mother by her Turkish father. 

But before we get on the real business at hand, which is anything but civil and gracious, let us make some of that delicious tea for ourselves, enjoying the beauty of the decorative colored glass cups painted in gold. 

Here are few interesting facts about Turkish tea. 

 Turkish Tea only became popular in the 20th Century when Turkish Coffee became expensive after Word War 1.  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk encourage people to drink the Tea as it was cheaper and more sustainable than importing coffee.  Thus it became the drink of choice in the Turkish Household.

Never refuse a glass of tea as it can appear rude. If you don’t wish to drink tea, then ask for a glass of water instead.

Turkish Tea is classically drunk from small tea glasses, which are said to be in the shape of Tulip, hinting back to Ottoman Times.

True Turkish Tea

Turkish Tea.jpeg

Making Turkish black tea like the Turks

To make the Turkish black tea like the Turks do you will need two kettles of different sizes: a big and a small one. The big kettle must be made of metal and the small one can be made of metal or ceramic. 

First fill with water the big kettle and place it at the stove. Then put the small kettle above the big kettle. At the small kettle put black tea (the measure of black tea is a dessert spoon for each person). Light the stove. While the water is boiling in the big kettle the second small kettle will also be warmed. Please notice that the small kettle contains only black tea and it does not contain water. 

After the water boiled, you should put this water on the small kettle where there you have the black tea. (The measure of the water is relative to the number of persons who will drink the tea. For example, if just two people wants to drink tea you should add a little bit of water, if there are more people you must put more water). 

Now you must wait 15 minutes more or less, this is necessary so that the tea can cook. You will see that after 15 minutes the tea stays in the bottom of the kettle, this means that the tea can be served. 

In Turkey black tea is generally not drink in mugs but in special glass cups as a Turkish tradition. 

There are two types of tea to be served: the strong tea "Koyu cay " and the light tea "acik cay". When serving the strong black tea you must fill two thirds of the mug with tea of the second kettle and add the boiling water to fill the rest of the mug. As the tea is strong the colour of this tea is dark brown. When serving the light black tea you must fill one third of the mug with tea of the second kettle and add the boiling water to fill rest of the mug. As the tea is light the colour is light brown. Add sugar, as you like. 

In Turkey we would say: "Afiyet Olsun" that means "Good Appetite" or "Enjoy"!

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