Watching Denzel Washington acting in almost any movie is rewarding. He’s now starring in a remake of the TV series, The Equalizer. Comparing this movie to the Television show would be like comparing Metallica to The Dave Clark Five, both play music however the difference is extensive.
Robert McCall as the Equalizer takes time developing what you know is coming, and when it does it comes at you like a punch to the gut followed by a kick to the head.
No Spoilers Here
The background story on Robert McCall shows him as a man working in a routine job with a penchant to read voraciously and obsess over routine details such as placement of silver ware on a table or using a stop watch for the time it takes to prepare in the morning for work. This OCD may seem out-of-place however it’s a key to understanding how he has turned what could be considered a weakness into a useful attribute.
The plot doesn’t have too many unpredictable twists and turns other than exactly how he will dig his way out of a hole that he dug for himself. Just as Don Quixote set out on a quest to right the wrong against Dulcinea del Toboso, this version is of a young prostitute who runs afoul of her Russian Mafia handlers.
Robert McCall also has his version of Quixote’s Sancho Panza in a co-worker, Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis). Robert demonstrates early on that he’s not delusional or incompetent as the protagonist in the Miguel de Cervantes story. Clearly the underpinning of this story revolves around a good villain, and Russian gangsters add sufficient gravitas to the role of adversary, primarily led by an enforcer named Teddy (Marton Csokas). Teddy, despite the cute or cuddly sounding name, is anything but a warm and generous person. He systematically uses skill, similar to a police detective to track down and eliminate a threat to the U.S. based, Russian criminal empire which McCall inadvertently confronts.
Perhaps the biggest job left for this Equalizer is in the film’s sequel potential. There’s easily a series of movies that could follow this one, and deservedly so if they continue with Denzel Washington, but with Liam Neeson playing similar roles in the Taken series, and the consistent barrage of “comic book” hero movies, this may be the challenge to rise up against. According to box office reports, it’s the third-best debut in Washington’s career.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride as the pace quickens in the last third of the movie. Even during the slow building pace in the beginning, Denzel’s acting charisma draws you in as you see his personal demons resisting the urge to go nuclear violence, which obviously comprised his past and resurface facing these societal predators.
I urge parents to keep young children from attending this film due to violence and strong language. I know they will be exposed sometime and somewhere, however, it’s my suggestion that parents not do a defacto endorsement by letting younger children view the movie.
Studio Press Release Info:
In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston.
When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters.
As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall’s desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer
Cast includes Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour with Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua with a script by Richard Wenk, based on the Television Series Created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.
Producers Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Denzel Washington, Alex Siskin, Steve Tisch, Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge, Michael Sloan.