The Equalizer: Film Review – A bloodier version of Man on Fire

One man with military skills against the Mafia, in a quest for revenge. When was the last time you saw a movie with that concept? Let me guess, about last week? These days, filmmakers cannot seem to find suitable action heroes from the current generation. So they bring back veterans to appeal to a wider fan base, while also trying to resuscitate the actor’s career. This is true for Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Brosnan, and now, Washington.

Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young prostitute, befriends McCall (Denzel Washington) one evening. So when she ends up in the hospital the next day, McCall takes matters into his own hands by killing the entire gang of Russians who run the escort service. Thus, he sets things in motion, resulting in Teddy (Martin Csokas), an assassin, stepping in to find out who killed the men.

The Equalizer was originally a TV series that aired in the late `80s. It must have been a good watch back then – a self-proclaimed vigilante helping people in need, with equal amounts of aggression and compassion. The character of Robert McCall is indeed one for the ages. But with Denzel Washington reprising the role, I think we’ve had enough of him. The whole `lone ranger planning an elaborate coup` plot has been done to death.

But what it lacks in terms of originality, the film makes up in scope. Director Antoine Fuqua treats the story like it has never been done before. It has an air of believability, which you go along with for a while. There are some stellar scenes, the most memorable being the first time Teddy and McCall interact.

My biggest complaint with this film is Denzel Washington’s bored performance. He shines in the action sequences, then goes back to scowling at random objects. Eventually, he is a combination of every other character he has played. Chloe Grace Moretz has just a couple of scenes, and she isn’t as pivotal to the plot as it’s made out to be. The most striking performance is from Marton Csokas. He is a sight to behold and is the kind of bad guy you love to hate.

The Equalizer gets points for its well-executed fight sequences and smart dialogue delivery. Honestly, you’ll feel a little guilty for liking this movie. Then you realise how predictable and unoriginal it is. It also drags on and on, till McCall finally gets to the bad guys.

Why should you watch the film?

You really don’t have to do much to make an action flick work. Give us a good guy to root for and a bad guy to despise, and we are happy. The Equalizer does exactly that. You will certainly enjoy the film with your friends. But be prepared to sit through an excruciatingly long second half.  

 

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