In the first Equalizer movie, mention was made of a car bomb.

She said, "Oh, no. Not Robert. And not from something as trivial as a car bomb. "

But in the sequel, Dave says something to the effect of "I was across from you in the same lobby...the hotel came down on us" (paraphrasing from memory - if anyone has a link to a script or the feel free to edit it in).

Was this a tell, to indicate something about the character/story or was this a continuity error between the two movies?

  • Since this is the only reference, to him faking his death (so he could retire), I'm not clear on what you are asking.
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 25, 2018 at 14:10
  • 1
    there are 2 different accounts of it (car bomb, bomb in a hotel lobby). Is this a continuity error or does the misreporting of one or the other reflect wrinkle in understanding of the characters?
    – rosends
    Jul 25, 2018 at 14:13
  • If you have the text from the second movie it would help but the two aren't exclusive. See Timothy McVeigh
    – Paulie_D
    Jul 25, 2018 at 14:17
  • 1
    I'm not seeing the contradiction. The car is the delivery method for the bomb, typically, in terrorist car-bombings. Not necessarily HIS car blown up while he was in it. A car parked on a street would take out hotels, shops and anything in the vicinity. Or driven into a particular building.... chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-03/18/content_315777.htm Aug 12, 2019 at 20:50

3 Answers 3



I believe it to be a single case, seen from two sides:

  • simple side, often as seen on a news reel, or description sent to loved ones ("car bomb")
  • from those that were there ("hotel came down on us")

From a transcript:

You got fat, Dave.

I was in the same lobby...

...when that bomb went off.

Looking right at you...

...when that hotel came down on us.

You were there and then you weren't.

Wasn't my day.

So, in the first film, I wrote it off as a simple car bomb, nothing more to be said.

When they expanded upon it in the second film (and there is nothing to say that the core of the idea was not there in the first place in the first film, it is the same writer after all), I really did not query it, as it immediately brought to my mind so many situations when that could have occurred in that way, and one of those ways, was the following:

It reminded me of a particularly well-known (or infamous) incident that occurred in real life (one of many similar, obviously - see PoloHoleSet's comment on Mount Lebanon hotel car bomb back in 2004) but it would have been a combination of bomb/hotel/lobby/size/US-personnel-as-targets/recent-memory for the writers that places this incident as likely inspiration (for want of a better word), at the top of my mind:

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This was a truck bomb, detonated before it could enter the Marriott Hotel building lobby itself, but even so, it was so large it made a devastating impact regardless.


  • in official channels, on the news etc, it would be a truck bomb.


  • to those that were there, in the rubble, in the before and the immediate after, especially for those in the immediate vicinity, it would be a bomb going off bringing the lobby down on them.

So, the following could be true if it were the case that the back story for the car bomb was already thought about when developing the first film:

The bombing was big news in 2008, the film was in development from at least 2010, and in the writing or treatment process well before this, Denzel was announced as lead in 2011, shooting (ahem) began in 2013.

Also, as much as I would rather refrain from connecting the dots with real life, the reports following the blast cited various targets or reasons for the attack, such as: 30 US Marines staying at the hotel, US 'Security Agency' personnel staying at the hotel (might be the same groups listed here), several senior CIA personnel were allegedly staying at the hotel; later, a US State Department employee was listed as missing, presumed dead. NSA later listed one of their own as a casualty.

So a high profile 2008 vehicle bomb resulting in the devastation of a hotel lobby (and deaths), involving US personnel presence that may or not involve particularly sensitive agencies (ie. CIA), is highly likely to have been within earshot of the writers at the time.

I am not sure of the people involved nor timeline of the story development but anyone involved in that region (including over the borders) by whatever means, whatever agency, private and otherwise, during that period of time, would be very familiar with the security situation and the incidents such as this that occurred.

Note that the sequel was announced with Wenk penning, as he did the first, in February 2014, seven months before the first film was released, so it would not be unlikely that he could have continued or expanded upon the original idea, inspired by real world events.


Going back to the story, if McCall was already on the way out, and that incident happened to be the situation at the time, then it seems to be a case of situation provides the opportunity. As in real world cases, identification can sometimes be difficult, and if enough clues are placed then assumptions will be made.

Nothing to say that McCall made the bomb happen, just that it was the time that everyone noted that he simply was no longer with them.


Car bombs are just that, bombs in vehicles, doesn't mean to say that the side effects of that bomb detonating are limited to that car.


I found an interview (2015) that sort of supports my theory about Wenk (writer) and potentially placing his research period around the time of the Marriott Hotel bombing (and subsequent reports of what type of American presence was there):


as I mulled the idea to do it, I dug out an article from the Wall Street Journal about a poll listing five things for Americans in 2007-2008 to make their life better – the top thing was justice

I’m toying around with “Equalizer 2” – depending on how it’s received, I thought the story would continue anyway

The original idea was about a man who, as a former cover operations officer, tries to make up for past sins by helping people who are in trouble.

He did some bad things that not many people had done, he has some skills.

WSJ, bombing article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122194909512860313


I would say it's two different cases. Or two different explanations. The car bomb is mentioned in mentioned state. They told Robert wife(?) that he died in car. Somebody else told her that this way the way he died. It may not be true. But being in the business he was they maybe couldn't say he died on foreign land doing CIA works. And she knew it was impossible for him to die in such way but chance of vanishing and starting his new life.

Then you have high probability that Robert faked his death multiple times (who knows, maybe after first movie he did it again). And one of those time Dave was a witness.


In the first Equalizer it was Susan (Melissa Leo) not his wife, that said she heard he was killed in a car bomb, but she never believed it and if anyone could pull off disappearing it would have been him. Yes, I believe in this Equalizer 2 that there maybe a storyline in this bombing (maybe the bombing was to kill him because why would he stage it himself knowing innocent people would be killed. You have go back to his character he kills the people that deserve it, which his buddies no longer do). Maybe this rogue team were already for hire back then and they knew he wouldn’t go along with it. He was their team leader. Because of what they do and where they do it, the story was told in a way that no one would keep digging into his death. Interested to see what Equalizer 3 brings out. I think he will be looking for who would hire his old buddies and of course he will be in Europe.

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