Synopsis: “A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.”
The last time Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington collaborated for Training Day, Washington walked away with the Academy Award for Best Actor. I seriously doubt that the feat will be repeated with The Equalizer, but both movies have the same effect, and that’s the performance of Denzel. Without it, the movie would falter considerably and the film would be even more imperfect than it already is.
Based on the old television series of the same name, the movie follows the adventures of Robert McCall and his quest to avenge not just the injustice done to his friends, but his personal demons. Washington is more than an awesome presence in the film; he is the movie. His sells his character completely and is a brute force to be reckoned with. He is not only able to convince you that he is a tortured hero seeking to do right, but also as an extremely dangerous and violent killer. His performance is so good that the rest of the movie feels incomplete.
The supporting cast is exceptional, but there are no scene-stealers. Chloe Grace Moretez as Teri is good; she makes you believe that her character’s life is anything but worth living. Marton Csokas portrays the villain Teddy as a ruthless psychopath, and even though his character is very cliché, he does alright with the role. As mentioned before, the supporting cast gets the job done, but no one else is very memorable.
The action choreography is excellent in the film, and the fight scenes between Washington and his character’s adversaries display the brutality of the “Equalizer.” The sound effects are also good in making those fists land and the guns shot. Director Antoine Fuqua was able to make the action sequences anticipated, and stellar, when delivered. However, everything else is not. The script is predictable, and the events of the movie could be figured out easily. The story of the film has been told before, just better. None of the characters, with the exception of McCall, are truly original. The villain was brutal, but he’s not memorable, and I could care even less for McCall’s friends. After a while, the only thing you could look forward to in the film was the action. That would have been okay, if it wasn’t for the fact that everything before and after couldn’t grasp my attention for very long.
The movie is not terrible, but I know that it could have been much better. Perhaps a stronger cast and a tighter screenplay could’ve been the difference between a solid action film and a mediocre Saturday-night movie. Denzel Washington makes the film watchable though, and the action scenes are really cool to watch. But, I expected more. The Equalizer receives 2 out of 5 stars.