Movie Review: The Equalizer (2014)

From Antoine Fuqua, the director of Training Day (also starring Denzel Washington) and Olympus has Fallen, comes the 2014 adaption of the action/vigilante television series of the same name, The Equalizer. Working as somewhere between Batman meets John Wick (or maybe The Punisher meets Sherlock Holmes), Denzel Washington is Robert McCall, a man with a mysterious past who forms a friendship with teenage prostitute Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz). When Alina is badly beaten by her pimp one night, McCall goes to make an offer to save Alina from having this fate repeated.

+ Denzel Washington as Robert McCall was the same sort of vigilante badass as the characters in films like John Wick or Taken, which is a sort of staple of Washington’s characters. McCall is polite, friendly, and smooth talking, but then kicks all kinds of ass once he gets in the zone. The Sherlock Holmes-esque way he observed his opponents and surrounds was particularly interesting
+ Marton Csokas as Nikolai / “Teddy” was a fantastic antagonist, suave and smarmy, much like his role in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, but much more physical. His moments on screen were always met with the thought that
+ the film’s action itself was entertaining, but often very impractical. I know Denzel’s character would want to use all the tools at his disposal, but why go through the trouble of a barbed wire noose when you are sneaking up on them with a silenced weapon anyway

– Chloë Grace Moretz as Alina was… not a main character, barely a minor character, and mostly just the catalyst for the film. Her performance was fine, but barely even warrants a mention, which was very disappointing overall, as I know Moretz can do wonderful things when given the chance, as either action star in Kick-Ass, or more comedic in Dark Shadows. It was a shame to see her used as such an after thought

> It was fantastic to see Tait Fletcher (the dude with the awesome beard from John Wick and Breaking Bad) show up again, as another badass henchman. In all of the above, and now this film, he has proven himself to be great fodder as the ‘stronger than the rest’ mook. I have enjoyed his appearances, and look forward to more
> McCall most certainly had some pretty severe OCD, yeah?

Should you see this film: As one of a handful of ‘one guy goes on a path of destruction against a gang of thugs’ films released around the same time, I can’t help but feel that John Wick did it better. This film had a few good moments, and particularly inventive uses of home depot tools, but overall didn’t pack the same punch as Kingsman: The Secret Service or John Wick, in terms of action. Maybe give it one watch, if you like those films, but don’t go into it expecting it to blow your mind.

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