‘The Equalizer’ – Movie Review

equalizer

★★


Denzel Washington is a man of many talents. He can carry dramatic, slower films like The Great Debaters, Remember the Titans, and Flight, and he can also kill it with roles in action movies like Training Day and Man on Fire. In any case, he’s one of the most watchable screen presences in movies today, and that is what makes The Equalizer succeed for the most part. Washington and Training Day director Antoine Fuqua (he also directed Olympus Has Fallen) reunite to bring this adaptation of the 1980’s CBS television series to the big screen, and if the film follows the series well, I can tell you with certainty that the movie wins in the brutality department.

Denzel plays Robert McCall, a retired badass who has a particular set of skills. Unlike Bryan Mills in Taken, we aren’t totally convinced of where these skills come from, but we learn that he has them. This mystery man works at Home Mart (think Home Depot), doing a fine job living out a normal, unnoticeable existence. But we learn that this man isn’t just a normal man. He uses his skills to help those in need. He’s a vigilante. Que the dramatic mood music. Cheesy as it may sound, with Washington on screen, it’s nowhere close. Once he establishes his skills for the audience to see, a bloodbath ensues that’ll knock you out cold if you aren’t prepared.

I’ve heard some people compare this movie to Drive due to the violent content and the fact that Nicolas Winding Refn was once considered to direct. It isn’t a surprise and upon considering that, it makes much sense. The movie is quiet for a while during the first act with McCall being established as a silent protagonist who just wants to read at his local diner and mind his own business. Then a prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) arrives to shake everything up for McCall as his defensive nature tells him he must help her in her situation. I love Chloe Grace Moretz and I think she is a wonderful young actress, but I think she is out of place in this film. Her performance wasn’t all that good, but the script has her in the movie only for the purpose of initiating Washington into this world to wreak havoc in the best way possible. Nothing against Moretz, but she just didn’t do it for me in this one.

Flaws aside, the movie is pretty awesome. Washington’s McCall deducts the time span it will take to complete a fight in the fashion Sherlock Holmes considers crime scenes. His character reminded me a lot of Sherlock as well as Will Graham from Hannibal. There isn’t an abundance of violent scenes (at least until the final twenty minutes or so which is completely awesome and satisfying), but when the violence hits, it hits hard. Think Drive. It’s shockingly brutal. But if you can take it, and you love Denzel, you’ll have a great time.


equalizer_ver3The Equalizer (2014)

131 mins

Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references)

Starring Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz

Written by Richard Wenk

Directed by Antoine Fuqua 


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great review. Basic and pretty formulaic, but fun for the most part, especially at the end.

  2. The Equalizer is NOT Man on Fire. The Equalizer is NOT your typical action flick. Washington’s Robert McCall is not self-destructive or addicted. Though there are great choreographed fights, special effects and fantastic explosions, The Equalizer is more Bourne than Bond. Denzel Washington portrays this ex-CIA operative, who is content to live a meticulously simple life. Quietly contained, but with ever-building intensity, Washington turns in another stellar performance.

    Chloe Grace Moretz, as the teenage prostitute, is a force…

    Antoine Fuqua, the directer who brought us Training Day, which earned Denzel his Best Actor Oscar, helms this movie with a steady hand. His direction of the drama and the action blend seamlessly, drawing us into the complexity of this character-driven piece.

    Robert McCall keeps to himself, content to live his ordinary life; he is every man’s man. But, his steady moral compass, and strong sense of justice lead him back into the fray. This character is not infallible, and he is not looking for trouble. He just wants what’s right.

    This film is a superbly acted, exciting and violent ride! In the pursuit of justice, there will be blood. But this time, you’ll be rooting for the good guy, and I, a fifty years young woman, loved every minute of it!

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