My friends, it has been a little while but you all know how life gets in the way. During the fall season, good movies can be few and far between with a few possible Oscar movies or performances sprinkled in. While The Equalizer doesn’t fall into that rare category, it is a good film powered by a film star’s staying power.
The Equalizer stars Denzel Washington (Flight) as Robert McCall, a quiet man living in Boston, Massachusetts and works at a Home Mart hardware store. He is friendly to his co-workers and tries to help a security guard trainee Ralphie pass his qualification exam. Beyond that, he keeps to himself by living alone and sticking to a routine. One night during his visit to a late-night local diner, he befriends a teenager, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a victim of sex trafficking and forced into prostitution.
When he sees her end up in the hospital after being brutally beaten, Robert promises to save her and enters the restaurant owned by the Russian Mafia to buy her freedom. When her pimp Slavi (David Meunier) refuse his offer to buy her freedom, Robert systematically takes out Slavi and his men. In retaliation, Robert is forced to go up against the enforcer of the Mob, Teddy (Marton Csokas) and return to a life that he promised never to return to.
While it might not be his best acted roles in the vein of Malcolm X and American Gangster, Denzel Washington brings his own energy to the action hero role, playing the character of a man trying to tow the line between his promise and protecting the innocent. Washington perfectly acted the struggle of his character before McCall completely crosses over the line to do what is right to him. Seeing McCall in action, his calmness in executing strikes against the mob was exciting, bringing in memories of the first Taken film.
The film is more stylishly violent than meaningful although it had potential to be. As a whole, the movie delivers with Antoine Fuqua behind the camera. The team of Fuqua and Washington again delivers in their first film together since Training Day. While up to that level, it shows that this duo can make an average gritty film appealing to audiences. It certainly speaks to Denzel Washington’s star power and that he can still bring audiences to theaters to see his films.