Some movies you want to see simply because you are told by the critics they are good. Other films you want to see because you hope they are good because you like the look of the cast and plot, The Equalizer very much in that category. I had high hopes for this one because Denzel Washington is the star and it’s an action movie. Washington is A-List because he can turn an average movie into a good one and that’s what he always charges ten million per movie. The director knows he will get that money back in folds with DW on board. Who doesn’t love the second coolest black movie dude behind Samuel L Jackson?
The Equalizer is indeed based on the old 80s TV series although very loosely as Edward Woodward was a refined white Englishman wearing by-focals, of course. If the next Spiderman is going to be black then so can Robert McCall, it seems.
It’s directed by black director Antonio Fuqua, who worked with DW on Training Day, which delivered Washington his second Oscar. Fuqua is one of the best action movie directors out there and also bought us the under rated Tears of the Sun, Shooter and the not so good Olympus has Fallen. This is up there for action, spills and cool thrills.
Robert McCall (DW) works in a DIY superstore, spending his days cutting wood and working the register, and by nights reading classic books and keeping himself to himself. He suffers from OCD and insomnia so enjoys his books all hours, especially in the 24 hour diner across the road in the midnight hours, where he makes pleasantries with the few regulars. He is particularly protective of a call-girl, Alina (Grace Moretz), being abused by her Russian handlers when she refuses to service their obese and violent clients.
At the Home Improvement store he helps workmate Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis) pass the various fitness and mental tests for his Security Guard certificate, a likeable oaf who also works weekends at his mom’s fast food store, where corrupt cops are running a protection racket and exploiting money from them, the put upon immigrants.
After a particularly bad beating, young Alia is not at the diner at the normal late night chat time, the owner telling McCall she is in hospital. This plays on the conscious of our DIY clerk and he tracks down the people who appear to own Alina and attempts to buy her freedom. The Russian mobsters at the nightclub are not persuaded by his offer of all of McCall’s savings to take her off the street and laugh him out of the door. Bad mistake! It seems our Home Improvement clerk has a military history and the guys soon regret their dismissal of him. He is, in fact, ex CIA, Green Beret, Special Forces, you name it, retiring himself and living off the grid incognito after faking his own death. Now he is going to earn the freedom of the girl in a more violent way to put his conscious at ease as the body count rises and he sets about dismantling the mobsters operation to save other girls. The Russian Mafia are not best pleased with their growing financial losses form the unknown group/persons actions and send over their best man from Moscow, Nicolai Itchenko (Marton Csokas), to find out who took out their guys and to get the drugs and girls flowing again.
If you having the lads around and you want to impress them with a new DVD release then this is it guys. The girls can watch Bridesmaids in the other room. Forget all those Liam Neeson ‘Taken’ reduex’s and go with Denzel this time, a slick action star who always delivers. We all love the aging ex Special Forces guy who still has the skills to dispatch the bad guys with gusto (or with the contents of a hardware store) and this is one of those movies. Neeson nailed it with the unexpected hit Taken as he looked middle aged on screen but still menacing and convincing, why the same thing works for Washington.
It’s not DW’s first run at this stuff, Man on Fire and Safe House the same movie in all but name. Now he has got over playing those righteous black characters to secure his awards he can really let lose in the action genre, anything to keep at bay the washed up cop role that eventually comes to all aging action hero’s. Obviously most of the money was spent on Washington’s fee and the slick look of the film and the unknown cast around the star enforce that feeling and make him look even better in the film. But it works and delivers an engaging and exciting cool action film.
If Steven Seagal had used the same script as this one the film would have been trashed (the plot reminds me of 70% of Seagal’s movies) but Washington brings class and 100% of the audience behind him and so makes it work. As I said, he makes average movies look good, an actor with complete command over the movie. We love vigilante movies and so we back the star. Again, DW makes shrewd choices in his movies.
With the action set in and around a DIY store there are plenty of delicious and gruesome opportunities for the Equalizer to dispatch the bad guys and with a decent soundtrack and some good lines you buy into this quickly. One or two liberties are taken to keep the film moving forward but who cares? Pulling in $192 million from its $55 million budget suggests, like The Jack Reacher film with Tom Cruise, this one could run and run as a franchise. It has great potential after Liam Neeson proved that 50 something ex CIA agents coming out of retirement to defend their love ones really engage an audience. Whereas Bruce Willis faded out in the genre around his 50th birthday Denzel has picked his projects well and continues to convince as the asskicking ex military dude.
Imdb.com – 7.2 /10.0 (154,543 votes)
Rottentomatos.com –77% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 57% critic’s approval
The Blue-ray disc has more extras on it than the regular DVD. I like to watch widescreen on Blue Ray as it shows off my new player. I use movie setting for Blue Ray as it parried with my HD movie channel setting. The colors don’t really come into play much as a lot of the movie is shot at night and dark filters used in many of the daytime shoots to express our hero working in the shadows. Sound is good (a bit tinny on my telly though) and visually looks shark and concise.
-Children of the Night-
A short piece to integrate pieces of the film to support the charity of the same name that helps to get girls off the street.
- Deleted Scenes-
-The Making Of-
Bit of a love in from cast & crew.
- Film Premier-
Cast & Crew Q&A in Manhattan for the Prem