The Equalizer

By Peter Towe

Published on Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The Equalizer was a popular television series that ran from 1985-1989.  Bringing Robert McCall to the big screen, is the re-teaming of director Antoine Fuqua and a little know actor named Denzel Washington.  Their last collaboration was 2001’s Training Day, which of course earned Washington an Oscar.  While Fuqua was able to get a good performance out of Denzel in The Equalizer, it isn’t a performance worthy of Oscar contention, or even much post-credit dialogue. What Fuqua (along with writer Richard Wenk) and Washington delivered in their new film is a visually stunning and beautifully shot movie, that unfortunately relies on clichés, predictable storytelling and an overall shallow movie.  Having said that, it wasn’t a miserable ride, and watching Denzel walk slow, play a tough-guy, watchman of the city was entertaining enough to warrant two-hours and a trip to the theater, it just leaves you feeling a bit empty in the end.

Denzel steps into the role as Robert “Bob” McCall, a man determined to live a quiet, peaceful existence.  Thrown into a situation that forces him to use a certain set of skills he used in what was a different life, McCall  had hoped these days were behind him.  After a friend, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a call-girl who was recently beaten so badly she was hospitalized for an extended period of time, McAll knows he has to do something.  Bob takes on the culprits responsible, and in the process works his way up to the top of the Russian Mafia.


Although his last couple films haven’t made much of an impact, Denzel can still have a positive affect on a movie, and can still heighten the level of acting for an entire film.  Not that it was needed in The Equalizer, a well-acted movie.  While Washington and an unnamed villain take up most of the screen time, the film features a great supporting cast including Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, and Chloê Grace Moretz.  Aside from some decent acting, The Equalizer is beautifully shot.

The Equalizer’s saving grace  was it’s stylized action sequences and consistent framing and slick composition make for a gorgeous film, which is unfortunately shallow, and leaves you not feeling much in the end.  They did a good job establishing character relationships, but the film suffered by falling into the trap of clichés and predictable plot elements.  Not to mention that with a runtime of 131 minutes, the pacing was off, and could have used more film left on the cutting room floor.  The Equalizer features plenty of action, but often it is broken up by scenes that don’t necessarily feel needed.


At the end of the day, audiences will be going to this movie for Denzel to be Denzel.  He is, and of course he’s charming and can draw a crowd to the theaters, just know you’re not getting much more than that.  The film lacks the depth needed to make this film feel special, but it’s a decent enough ride, that MOST fans will enjoy.  As long as your not going into the movie with unwarranted expectations, you should be fine.  There was no mystery about what was going to happen, you know almost immediately how the plot will play out, and with some intentional pulling-of-the-heart makes The Equalizer mediocre at best.


The Equalizer is directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk.  The film stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Melissa Leo, and Bill Pullman.

The Good

+ Visually stunning

+ Denzel.... need I say more

The Bad

- Not much depth in the story

- Predictable

- Intentionally pulls at the heart

- could have been cut down to shave off some time


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