The Equalizer

“I am offering you a chance to do the right thing. Take it.”

Denzel Washington teams up again with director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) for another action thriller (Fuqua’s first in IMAX). This quality film is adapted from the television series that starred Edward Woodward as McCall.

As Robert McCall, Washington continues demonstrating his dramatic and physical skills (e.g. close combat) as a former black ops commando who knows how to keep out of the spotlight. Fuqua provides adequate visual style among the action while Richard Wenk provides a decent script, which incorporates the book The Old Man and the Sea. It would have been great to see more background development on McCall thought Washington convincingly portrays his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as he deftly dispatches justice using various means.

McCall uses his considerable skills to help others anonymously then encounters a unique situation involving a young girl named Teri (a.k.a Alina), played by Chloë Grace Moretz who faces ultra-violent Russian gangsters, which warrants the R rating (violence, language, etc.).

The plot relies a bit too much on stereotypes and cliches that deplete the impact of the action. Antagonists underestimate McCall because they view him as “old” plus they make unwise decisions, which escelates the confict. Enter Teddy Rensen (a.k.a. Nicolai Itchenko), played by Marton Csokas (The Bourne Supremecy, xXx), sent by the Russian gangster leader Vladimir, played by Vladimir Lulich (Vikings).

Retired CIA operatives Susan, played by Melissa Leo, and Brian, played by Bill Pullman, also factor into the mix along with David Harbour (Netflix’s Stranger Things) as Frank Masters and Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven, The Girls on the Train) who plays Mandy.

The musical score by Harry Gregson-Williams keeps the emotion high while the song “Guts Over Fear,” performed by Eminum and Sia factored highly in the previews and is played during the closing credits.

Set in Boston, Massachusetts, the solidly recommended The Equalizer (*** out of four stars) has great performances, some helpful background on McCall, and heroic actions with admirable morals. Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references. Followed by Washington’s first-ever feature film sequel, The Equalizer 2.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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