“The Equalizer” is a slow burn that packs a mighty punch once it gets going. The combination of director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington once again proves lethal. It’s the vigilante redemption story that we get wrapped up in, helmed by an actor we love to see.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a quiet, law abiding citizen who seems to have just recently started a new job at Home Mart (think Home Depot). He has a routine, he’s meticulous, can’t sleep through the night, and sticks to himself. Each night he visits a local diner and has tea while reading a book. It’s there that Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a call girl and regular to the diner, interacts with him. “Good things don’t happen in my world” she tells him. “Well you gotta change your world” McCall responds. This powerful advice is the theme of the movie. By choosing what you allow or don’t allow in your world you can bring peace or disrupt things. As Teri enters Robert’s world, his is altered and tainted by the lifestyle she has been forced to live and it takes him to a violent place he seems to be very comfortable and far to familiar with.
After Teri shows up in a hospital beat up and comatose, McCall decides to pay a visit to the men that gave his young friend a beating. He gives them a choice to let her go free from the lifestyle for $9,800. They don’t accept, and he rains down violent justice in 19 seconds flat. Unknowingly, McCall just took out the East Coast heads of the Russian Mafia. Enter Teddy (Marton Csokas), the sociopath genius that will be McCall’s biggest adversary. Honestly, you can guess how the rest of the movie goes as both sides square off like boxers to see what the other is made of. When they finally do meet face to face they have one of the greatest subtext dialogue (what they’re saying has other meaning) scenes I’ve heard in a while. Regardless of the familiar plot, it’s a suspenseful thrill ride to get to the end.
Fuqua is at the top of his game using the camera to speak visually and supplement his actors’ work. He has one of the coolest hero walk shots with Denzel blowing something up that I've seen in a while because it tells a story while being eye candy. While this wasn’t an Oscar worthy movie, like the two collaborated on in “Training Day”, Denzel has likely just turned in a franchise worthy performance! He holds down the vigilante justice role just as well as Liam Neeson. Honestly, I’d like to see Denzel in a Marvel or DC comic film. Half of the film I felt like he was Batman as he took out bad guys (mostly at night or in the dark) with an almost unkillable persona.
“The Equalizer” is an entertaining time at the movies this weekend and is sure to entertain action junkies! While Denzel’s smooth walk seems to have a slight sign of age to it now, by no means does that stop him from claiming the leading man spot for this genre. In fact, it’s probably elevated him to new heights as an action star!