Hi everyone, Bryan Here….
This remake of an 80s television show about a retired CIA operative who now helps regular people in trouble has been in the works for quite some time. I believe it was always going to star the impressive Denzel Washington, but a few directors have been in and out of the director’s chair including Nicolas Winding Refn (‘Drive‘). He bowed out a while ago and the studio asked Antoine Fuqua to helm the project, which he accepted. Fuqua worked with Washington on the Oscar winning film ‘Training Day‘, which also earned Washington an acting Oscar.
That movie was a raw and gritty film about a couple of police detectives working the mean streets of Los Angeles. It had many layers of depth and character development alongside it’s violent action scenes. Well don’t go into ‘The Equalizer‘ expecting that. Instead, go in expecting a 90’s Nic Cage type of action film complete with slow motion shots of Denzel walking away from big explosions. The only thing that was missing were John Woo’s white doves flying out into the sky when Fuqua turned up the action beats. That’s not to say this movie is bad in any way shape or form. It isn’t. In fact, it’s quite good and entertaining if you walk in expecting a fun action movie with Denzel kicking all sorts of ass.
We meet Denzel’s character Robert McCall as he is heading to work at his job at a Home Depot type place as a general employee. He is a nice and fun guy around his co-workers, and even tries to help them out in life when he can. He spends his evenings at a local diner, reading novels, eating pie, and watching the local vagrants come in on their break. One of them is Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), a prostitute who is constantly being beat by her johns and pimp/Russian mob underboss. Well, Robert won’t stand for this aggression, and tries to make sure this doesn’t happen again, but when Teri ends up in the hospital die to a severe beating, Robert heads over to the pimp who did this and we see Robert turn into a super soldier of sorts who brutally takes out five guys in under a minute.
Once the higher ups in the Russian mob hear about this, Robert is forced to start taking out all assassins that are trying to get to him. He even enlists the help of his former colleagues at one point with cameos from Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo, which give a backstory to Robert’s past and how important he was to the USA. Everything culminates back at Robert’s workplace, the Home Depot, where all hell breaks loose as RObert sets these insane and violent traps around the store for his attackers.
This is a straightforward action film with all the genre beats that come with it, twists and all. Denzel is 59 years old, but man he kicks ass like a healthy 25 year old. It’s brutal, raw, and unrelenting. And while this remake of ‘The Equalizer‘ might not have the depth and symbolism that ‘Training Day‘ did, it certainly is a fun action film that is thrilling and highly entertaining.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
– Bryan Kluger