The Equalizer (2014)

Movie Title: The Equalizer

Year Released: 2014

Rated: R

Runtime: 2h 12min

Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Richard Wenk

Starring: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, David Meunier, Johnny Skourtis, Alex Veadov, Vladimir Kulich,

Review: Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has put his mysterious past behind and is trying to enjoy a quiet, peaceful life. That is until he meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young prostitute under the control of some very vile and violent Russian gangsters. McCall can't let this unjust act go on, so he comes out of "retirement" to help the helpless and serve up some hard-hitting vengeance to those that are asking for it.

The Equalizer is based on a television series in the '80s starring Edward Woodward as a retired Intelligence Agent who becomes a private detective that specializes in helping various clients to "equalize" the odds against those who have wronged them. Not a bad idea for a show. I'd watch that... and I did back then. However, this adaptation is very much molded to fit its star, Denzel Washington. It's as if Robert McCall is Denzel Washington and Denzel Washington is Robert McCall. It's either because of the screenplay or Washington's acting chops, or both. He's so charismatic, cool, and engaging as McCall that as the movie goes on you can cut the anticipatory tension with a knife for when McCall is going to show the audience, and the antagonists his "special set of skills".

Unlike the TV series, this version is loaded with graphic violence both from the villains as well as our hero. The villains are really despicable so when they suddenly get "equalized" it's deservedly so. That being said, McCall is definitely a traumatized, broken man still haunted by the dark demons of his mysterious past. He's not so much of a heroic character as a stone cold pragmatist that only believes in absolutes much more than an eye for an eye.

The other two standouts in the movie are its villain played by Marton Csokas, he's creepy and very menacing; a great bad guy, and the other is David Harbour, as a crooked cop. My favorite pair of characters in the movie are the Plummers played by Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo. They are old friends of McCalls, and I'll just leave it at that. Great scenes between them. Definitely the best part of the movie for me.

My only real criticism is there are a few too many subplots that bloat the movie's runtime, but other than that it's a solid thriller.

The Equalizer has become one of those movies that gets better with each viewing. If you're a fan of Denzel Washington, home improvement stores, and unflinching action that delivers with every shot, punch, and blast, then watch McCall gives his all in The Equalizer.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The closing credits font is the same used in the television show on which the film is based, The Equalizer (1985).


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