Written by: Richard Wenk
Starring: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman
The era of the older action stars came in full force in the 21st Century with actors are mostly known for dramas decided to utilize their talents in the action genre later in life. With many to use as examples, The Equalizer found the best of them all, Denzel Washington, trying it out to an entertaining degree and giving everything it promised.
A retired special agent, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) lives a quiet lifestyle spending his days reading books and working at a home improvement store. When he becomes aware of an operation of men utilizing teenagers as prostitutes, he decides to intervene and finds himself in a larger situation than he expected.
Advertising itself as Denzel kicking butt with some hardware tools, The Equalizer provides just that and much more as it puts forth an entertaining story about a man just trying to protect those who cannot fend for themselves. The name of the film really speaks for itself in trying to even the odds when individuals with all of the power try to bring harm to those lacking it. Truly a simple premise but when you have Denzel Washington as the face of the story, he can do wonders with the basics and proves it once again unsurprisingly.
Spending his time in diners, Robert McCall has an unassuming personality to him where he mostly minds his own business. Having the skills to kill anyone at a moment’s notice, he decided to put it all away and just live life comfortably. Meeting the young Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz) changed everything for him in a meaningful manner. When one sees the ills of the world and one has the physical capability confront the particular injustices, it becomes difficult to sit back and do nothing. Robert steps up and the scenes displaying his fighting capabilities make for some refreshing action sequences aided by the film’s dedication to being grounded with what the protagonist uses for weaponry.
As mentioned earlier, the main draw of this film came from Robert using handy tools for his weaponry and not some built up arsenal of assault weapons. He can utilize whatever he needs to make a kill whether it be his fists or a stapler. Robert has this capability because he possesses a level of proficiency in the art of killing not many others could possibly hope to attain. It gets to a point where he can walk into a room, count the number of foes, and estimate the time required for him to take them all out. A sequence that could have come off as silly works very well because McCall easily weaves between being a docile figure and the physical force of nature capable of causing the brutal damage depicted in the story. It’s similar to the feeling of watching a talented artist paint a masterpiece on a canvass or a chef creating their best dish right in front of you. Watching someone who’s the best in their craft becomes almost cathartic to watch and Robert certainly falls into this category with the act of killing and incapacitating bad guys in this film.
I consider myself an unapologetic Antoine Fuqua defender, as he typically makes films that vibe with my sensibilities, and once again he shines with how he crafts this film. He makes every blow feel calamitous while showing the ease all of this seems to be for Robert in his fight to protect the marginalized. Very stylized in its presentation, especially the final fight sequence, Fuqua delivers the goods once again with The Equalizer. He proves to work well with Denzel, which makes sense considering the success they have found when working together. I will defend his King Arthur until the day I die but it appears this film landed with more broad support to no surprise.
Russian bad guys and plenty of fun action sequences, The Equalizer proves to be worth the price of admission for the final fight sequence alone. Denzel Washington battles foes within his home improvement store utilizing nothing but tools as weapons. If this does not garner your interest then I’m not sure I can help you. Robert proves to be a hero anyone can get behind as he comes with no ulterior motives outside of helping others who need assistance from their oppressors.