The Equalizer follows retired hitman/assassin/CIA agent (it’s never really explained) Robert McCall, who has been living a quiet, reformed life in Boston. Robert’s life is one of precision and routine. Everything he does from the moment he wakes up to the time he goes to bed is all done methodically and carefully while timing himself with a stopwatch through various tasks.
Robert has a few key friends he has made in his new reformed life. One of them being a very young escort, Teri, played by Kick Ass star, Chloe Moretz. When Robert learns that Teri has been beaten half to death by her Russian mobster pimps, Robert takes it upon himself to exact justice the only way he knows how (hint: It’s MURDER!). The film then starts to unravel as Robert faces the consequences of his actions through the Mobs retaliation and all hell breaks loose.
The Good – Denzel Washington
Let’s be honest. Most of the time, films like these are easily forgotten. With such a straight forward premise, it’s hard to make a simple A + B = C action movie remain prevalent after the film is finished. When you have an A-list talent like Denzel in the mix, amazing things can happen. He just oozes so much intimidation and confidence, that you become much more invested in his character than you normally would in genres like these.
Robert has the unrelenting determination of a Terminator that you start to actually laugh at the villains he’s going after. You just think to yourself, “My god! These guys just have no chance whatsoever!”
That feeling is also provoked in the gruesome fight choreography. Robert knows in any situation, what to use, how to use it and how many seconds it will take to do it. Imagine Robert Downey in Sherlock Homes, methodically calculating how to take out his opponents. Then replace Sherlock with Denzel, six guys and two cork screws and you’ll have an idea of what i’m talking about.
You could go many different ways with a character like that but this film isn’t trying to be something it’s not. It is a straight up action film and if you’re looking to see Denzel take out punks in the most hard hitting and brutal way possible, then you will not be disappointed.
The Bad – Not Enough Story?
I watched this film with a friend of mine who, when walked out of the theatre, thought the story wasn’t enough to really keep her interest and this film wouldn’t be one that would be remembered years down the road. Now, for the type of audience who revels in the story aspect of a film, I would agree. This film does take a lot of liberties with its story and relies a lot on the fact that you let your imagination put the backstory together yourself.
With Robert McCall for example. You have no idea what he did in his past, what happened to him that he had to retire and disappear into a new life, or what his old job was that he gained all these kick butt skills! The story starts to become a little too convenient when after many years of peace, all these punks, low lives and mobsters start to come out of the woodwork for Robert to “Equalize.”
Had he been doing this all the time as he’s been living his new reformed identity? We never have this explained to us. Nevertheless, if you’re someone who just likes to be entertained and doesn’t mind putting the pieces together, you’ll still have a fun time.
The Equalizer sets out to teach you one very important fact. Never. Ever. Mess with Denzel Washington…EVER, and they do this very well.
Though there’s not much going on in terms of story, the action never seems senseless. The film’s action scenes are set up to reveal more about Robert McCalls mysterious character, how deadly and accurate he is and helps drives the story forward.
Action hero fans will get a lot out of this film and will be talking about the fight scenes long after they leave the theatre. Story fans may right this off as a B-level action film with an A-level actor involved.
Myself? I just wanted Denzel to be Denzel and kick some serious butt, and I got exactly what I wanted.