Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Moretz, Melissa Leo
Plot: A man who has left his checkered past behind decides to help a young prostitute escape her violent pimp, only to cross the path of the Russian mob.
Review: The Equalizer is based on the hit TV show of the same name back in the 80s starring Edward Woodward as a man who acts as a problem solver and protects the weak and innocent from bad guys. In this version, Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, a guy who works at the hardware mart by day and reads books at the 24 hour diner by night. He comes to the aid of Alina, a young prostitute who was beaten by her pimp and hospitalised. By solving her problem, in violence, he incurs the wrath of the Russian mob, who wants payback.
Director Antoine Fuqua and screenwriter Richard Wenk go to great lengths to expand McCall's character, spending a good amount of time showing us his day to day life as an everyman at the hardware mart. They describe him as an unassuming man, quiet yet helpful, but at night he's a guy that spends time reading at the 24 hour diner, a man who hardly sleeps and is somewhat obsessive compulsive. If you're the kind of viewer who loves seeing action sequences every five minutes, you won't enjoy this film. But if you like lots of meat to go with the action Fuqua is serving, you'll like this.
Speaking of the action sequences, Fuqua and company did the right thing by giving the viewers practical stuff, not over the top, illogical crap we get from other films. McCall is a guy that can take people out using various objects around him, and with great ease. He's violent, yet quick and resourceful, reminiscent of Jason Bourne or Taken's Bryan Mills. It does take some patience to enjoy the action here, but it's well worth it. The final confrontation between McCall and the Russians is pretty cool.
Washington, as usual is in top form here, displaying the same kind of heroism we've seen in Man On Fire and The Book Of Eli, except he's more calm and collected than he's ever been, even when he starts spilling blood. This could be one of his best roles yet. Marton Csokas, no stranger to playing a villain, does a great job as well portraying Teddy, the Russian thug sent to take out McCall. Chloe Moretz is good as Alina the hooker, but gets much less screen time than I expected, which is a shame. Fuqua chose to focus the majority of his film on Washington's McCall, who not only spends time facing the Russians, but also sticks up for his co-workers who are in trouble (hence the 'equalizer' quality).
The film does suffer a bit from the lengthy runtime, made worse by the numerous endings in its final moments. While I enjoyed the efforts made by Fuqua relating to character development and background stuff, a bit of editing wouldn't hurt.
This is a sure winner from Denzel and Fuqua. Oh, and do watch out for a surprise appearance from Bill Pullman, whom I've not seen in a long time. Recommended. (8/10)