The Equalizer (2014) – Antoine Fuqua

 

Denzel Washington stars as Robert McCall in this update of the iconic 80s television series starting Edward Woodward.

Fuqua has proven consistently that he is a strong director and this film is no exception. The only real problem I have with this film is that there is a whole angle missing from this film; the only cops in the movie are corrupt ones. Where are the ones investigating this sudden rash of vigilante killings? I mean McCall doesn’t seem to concerned about leaving trace evidence everywhere.

McCall leads a spartan existence, having left the darkness behind. He works in a home improvement store content with where he is in his life.

When an acquaintance, Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz) ends up in trouble, he finds himself pulled back into the darkness again, helping the helpless, evening the odds and finding himself taking on the Russian mafia, personified by the sociopath Teddy (Marton Csokas), singlehanded.

While tightly paced, and Denzel, perfectly cast, the whole fact that the police aren’t on his tail at all, kept coming back up in my mind, and ended up costing the film a lot of believability for me. The action beats are great, the film looks wonderful, but the narrative, honestly, needed more.

The final showdown in the home hardware store was tightly paced, but my brain kept jumping to the end of Gremlilns and their showdown in the department store.

The Equalizer - 2014

Chloe Grace Moretz is completely wasted in the film, an exceptional young actress, she is little more than a sacrificial lamb to serve as the impetus for McCall’s summon to action. That’s too bad, as she’s always enjoyable on-screen. She appears in the first act, and then we don’t see her to the end of the film.

Still, Denzel’s mere presence, and the action sequences balance out the missed opportunities and holes in the narrative. It’s just fantastic watching him take down these criminals who are so used to having their way with no one to stand up to them.

Csokas is particularly vicious, and plays Teddy to the hilt, posing a real and terrifying threat to McCall, my favorite scene features them in a dialogue scene when Teddy is posing as a cop investigating the murder of four Russian mafia members, and both of them are aware that neither is telling the truth, and McCall knows he’s been found.

So while not an amazing film, it was pretty entertaining, but I just couldn’t let go of the wasted opportunity in casting an actor like Moretz and then not using her, and the missing narrative of a police investigation. I liked the end, where you see the updated way people get in touch with McCall, which had a familiar ring to it, but overall, for anyone who loves the series, or anyone who wanted a stronger story… Make sure you turn your brain off for this one, and just enjoy instead.

What did you think of it?

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