REVIEW: THE EQUALIZER
SYNOPSIS: In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when McCall meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.
REVIEW: Readers beware! It’s extremely difficult to write an entirely impartial review, whilst being a huge Denzel Washington fan for many years. Moreover, in my view, it’s very difficult to see any of his work in a bad light. So this is my paltry attempt to present a fair assessment of this, his most recent effort, and so bear with me here.
Washington has gone back to director Antoine Fuqua, who directed him to his Oscar for playing the bombastically corrupt badass cop in 2001’s “Training Day.” He sorta’ balances the scales of justice, in this plot, whilst seemingly challenging Liam Neeson, the cast of “The Expendables,” and more recently Kevin Costner for a slice of the middle-aged action-hero pie in this Fuqua’s “The Equalizer.” I’d like to think of this as the “don’t mess with Pops genre,” first hinted at years ago by Harrison Ford but perfected only recently by the aforementioned Neeson (Taken – movie series).
For the most part, this latest flick feels like a cross between Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish” movie series and “The Bourne…” movie series. Characters that push back when pushed to their limits or they feel compelled to right some societal wrongs. Unfortunately, this could never have been a great movie but between Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, it’s as good as it could be (as in good enough to keep audiences glued to their seats for more than two hours). It’s not one of those flicks that make audiences want to watch it more than once, but it is thoroughly enjoyable to see on the big screen.
The dreary first quarter of this flick sorta gives the wrong impression of the direction this movie will take us; forcing me to deduct a whole star from my rating. However, Washington/Fuqua et al, kicks things in to high-gear (no pun intended) in the last three-quarters of this hour and thirty-one minute flick. Hence, it redeems itself in short order and gets my highest respect for enlivening a fairly predictable plot with some high-level performances by mostly everyone.
Yes, there is nothing extraordinary or surprising about “The Equalizer,” however; it is Denzel Washington bringing his game-face and Antoine Fuqua doing what he does best. Despite the predictability of the plot and the slow-to-start style of storytelling, I do believe this is worth the theater visit with the popcorn and entourage in tow. Four out of five stars for awesome Denzel Washington action, period!
By Movi-Man Stan
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