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.
As a great actor as Denzel Washington is, it’s easy to forget that he has numerous action films on his resume. Great actors are simply not known for action movies; typically you think of your brawny action heroes of the 80’s & the edgy-gritty guys of the 90’s. Other times, you think of the martial artist who turns to Hollywood to be a martial arts action star. Just in case you might have forgotten Denzel in Man on Fire or The Book of Eli, The Equalizer serves as a healthy reminder. The Equalizer gives us the retired badass Robert McCall who once served as a Jason Bourne/John Creazy style covert assassin. As a sagacious bookworm, he one day meets a young teenager who is stuck in the world of human trafficking and sex slavery. Ultimately, Robert McCall is compelled to come out of retirement and take on the forces of injustice, as an “equalizer”. Denzel uses his well-known charisma on top of well thought action sequences which makes this movie a good one. Fans of photography would love the attention to detail on the selective aperture use and changes, especially for dramatic effect which ends up giving this hard-edged movie a unique feel.
As a retired black-ops assassin, this movie grants Robert McCall a large amount of character development; he spends his time as a worker in a Home Depot style store who enjoys reading his books at a local coffee diner. You’ll see McCall perform a Sherlock-scan before things get rough, and he pays attention to time & himself before engaging his enemies as if he knows all of his reaction times from past off-screen fights. He is ruthlessly good at what he used to do, for he RARELY uses guns as if he doesn’t use guns just to make a point of how elite he is.
Of course a great action hero is not complete without a great action villain, and after soundly defeating the Disc One Final Boss Marton Csokas stars as the main villain of the movie known simply as “Teddy”. A Mafiya assassin who has a Spetznaz backround, naturally he is everything as the perfect parallel rival to McCall. Unfortunately for him he is dealing with guerrilla warfare being that he is in McCall’s backyard, not his own.
The interesting thing about The Equalizer is the fact that this movie seems to be built as a franchise opening; and even more interesting is the fact that Denzel, as good as he is, has NEVER starred in a franchise. In fact, Denzel never starred in a sequel before. This is will not be the first time that an apex actor of considerable renown pursues a hero franchise; Robert Downey Jr. became Iron Man, which is the movie (and character) that launched the whole Marvel rolling universe on film.
Denzel Washington has starred in remakes before. He has played historical domain characters before. But one the thing Mr. Washington has never done is star in a sequel. Shame, for he is a guy who out of all of his movies makes you wish you can see that character again. Perhaps, if you are anticipating such, you may very well get your wish… If Sony follows through with what they’ve set up here. The Equalizer functions a bit like a remake; is based on network television show that ran from 1985 to 1989. I don’t even remember that show, but after Jason Bourne disarmed two Swiss cops in the park in 2002, Hollywood got good at displaying a government (even retired ones) assassin on film. Damn this movie is good. A recommended watch, especially if you like the “government trained assassin” sub-genre of action flicks.