With a filmmaking career that spans over 30 years, Denzel has never been seen playing the same character twice. This is his first reprised role. This is something major. You do not want to miss this one. We have a treat for you, we got a chance to chat with one of the actors that stars in the movie. Meet Kazy Tauginas. He plays the character ‘Ari’ who is one of the four men who tries to take out McCall portrayed by Washington in the final fight scenes.
Instinct Culture: How was the combat training for Equalizer 2? It looked intense!
KAZY: The combat training for this film was quite intense. I honestly have to give credit to Jeff Dashnaw (the stunt coordinator) for putting together a state-of-the art team. I worked many hours with Mick Gould and Frances Smith to get familiar with a fully automatic rifle and learn how to properly use it. Something I knew NOTHING about. I felt I really wanted to hold myself to a high standard. With this type of training, there really are no short cuts. We just had to put in hours of practice. So the guys were really helpful and understanding with my constant requests for rehearsals. Luckily, coming from a fight background, I consider physicality just another tool in my acting chest.
Instinct Culture: How many years have you been working as an actor?
KAZY: I went back to school in 2009 and graduated from New York Film Academy’s Acting for Film Conservatory Program. So, really, we’re coming up on a decade. Time flies!
Instinct Culture: I saw you have a purple heart for lupus, is there a personal story behind it?
KAZY: I felt that the red carpet would be an appropriate place to raise awareness for Lupus. Millions of people across the globe are affected, yet nobody really knows what it is. Lupus is an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks it’s own organs and tissues. It can be life-threatening. My mother has been fighting the disease since before I was born. I wrote and produced an award-winning short film called “Standing Eight” about a boxer who is forced to retire after being diagnosed with systemic lupus. I wanted to use my creative talents to help give this often forgotten population a voice.
Instinct Culture: You worked on Sneaky Pete with Giovanni Ribisi. How was that experience?
KAZY: I had a fantastic experience on Sneaky Pete. I had the honor of being directed by legends Denise DiNovi for one episode and Michael Dinner for the other. Both just so great. The thing about the Sneaky Pete was that the crew had an energy of a family. It was a well-oiled, positive machine. When everyone is on the same page, shooting isn’t even work. I feel as though I made some life long friends from that production. Giovanni was awesome. He keeps you on your acting toes and really cares about the product. So anytime you work with passionate individuals, it’s an absolute pleasure.
Instinct Culture: Did Denzel offer any motivational insights whilst shooting those fight scenes?
KAZY: Working with Denzel is motivation. His commitment to his character work is second-to-none. I admire his focus and intensity. He just makes it look so easy. When you work with someone of that caliber, you either elevate your own game or you crash and burn. I’m not one to crash, so I went all-in. We went to work and I think the audience will really enjoy the final product.
Instinct Culture: Congrats on all your award wins. That’s really impressive. Does it help you land more roles?
KAZY: Thank you so much! The bulk of the awards I’ve received have been because of my short film “Standing Eight”. I’ve been so honored that so many festivals recognized the film. It has yet to open any doors for me as an actor. The truth is it has shown me that if I want to play a particular character, I need only to write a piece for myself and get it produced. (I make it sound easy, but it isn’t. But oh, so worth it. Just ask Billy Bob Thorton.)
Stay up to date with Kazy here – @kazytauginas on Instagram and Twitter @OfficialKazyTauginas on Facebook
Let’s get into the review a little bit.
The movie starts with Robert McCall, still as a CIA operative, on the train looking like he is portraying his Malcolm X character again, weird. This is an intro scene to the film which is to take us back to the days of what he used to do for work which was kicking ass as a Black ops CIA person who is now persumably dead. The Equalizer was a 1980s TV series which the franchise is loosely based upon. Also directed by Antoine Fuqua, the first movie in the series doesn’t give much backstory as to why McCall is an everyday vigilante, doing what is right by any means necessary. (Fun film fact: Fuqua directed Washington in Training Day which he went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.)
In this film we can get more of the personal life experiences that makes him the man he has become. Most notably, the grief he still holds for his departed wife. The movie takes place in three cities. It starts off in Brussels, the crime scene, where McCall’s beloved best friend, confidant, and ex supervisor Susan played by Melissa Leo is murdered in her hotel bedroom. This sets McCall off on his do or die mission for revenge. We then enter Washington D.C., a place where right now, no one is trusted and everything and everyone should be questioned. McCall visits an ex partner who didn’t know he was even still alive, Dave, who just happened to also be in Brussels during Susan’s death. The final battle goes down during what seems like a hurricane on the Boston Harbor.
McCall is seemingly a person who cannot be baited and has literally nothing left to lose. That also changes when he runs into Miles, a neighborhood Black kid who lost his older brother to street violence and is in desperate need of cash played by Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders. The thriller takes us on a ride as a passenger of his Lyft cab’s and Denzel looks damn good in those fight scenes. The movie hits theaters tomorrow July 20th.