Synopsis: A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. (c) Imdb
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The Equalizer, opening nationwide on September 26th is Denzel Washington’s best film in years. His performance in this film rivals the one of Training Day, in which he won an Oscar for. When you hear critics say this film will have you on the edge of your seat, well this film will actually have you on that edge. Edge is a theme that the film incorporates. It’s dark, gritty, gruesome, and fantastic.
The film is about a regular (at least that’s what we are lead to believe early on) guy Robert McCall played by Denzel Washington, who works at a hardware store. How boring? Not so much. Robert is a hard working guy, who is seen motivating and helping out his fellow co-workers. He spends his night in a gloomy diner reading books. He befriends a young, lost girl named Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz). She’s lost in the sense that she’s a call girl with no direction in life. She is “owned” by the Russian mafia. Up0n seeing the brutality the handlers leave on her, McCall decides to take matters into his own hands. We soon learn that Robert isn’t a regular minimum-wage hardware store employee. He’s a killing machine, a former CIA operative. McCall takes on the entire Russian mob, and it’s brutal hired gun Teddy (Marton Csokas). The remainder of the film is a thrill ride filled with action, brutality, and intrigue.
The acting performances in The Equalizer are spectacular. Denzel Washington does his finest work since Training Day, if not all-time. He’s charmingly terrifying. He has really mastered playing an ordinary guy that has extraordinary skills. His character in the film has so many dimensions to it, extremely meticulous. He doesn’t use or need any weapons. He completely relies on intellect and using his surroundings to get him out of trouble. One scene he’s an outgoing regular guy. Next scene is is meticulous, compulsive, showing signs of ADD, while being a cold-blooded assassin. The variation between the persona is crafted expertly. It certainly shows his incredible range as an actor. No question, this is one of the finest living actors of this era. One of the greats in history of cinema. Chloe Grace Moretz does a fine job portraying the troubled, yet vulnerable young escort. Had Denzel not been in this film, Marton Csokas would have stole the show. His performance was an eye-opener. He’s as chilling and merciless as you can expect in a film of this type. He plays such a good foreign mafia associate. This is someone who has quietly done a lot of good movie work over the years. This role should lead to big career boost. Johnny Skourtis who plays Ralphie, and Denzel’s co-worker friend brings a lot of heart to the film. He’s a guy McCall takes under his wing and looks out for. Melissa Leo makes an appearance in the film in a crucial supporting role, playing a former CIA intel member. What can I say? She’s terrific, even in a limited role.
Antoine Fuqua, the man behind Training Day, Shooter, and Brookly’s Finest is the shot-caller behind this film. He has the pulse on the crime-thriller genre like no other. Makes me wonder why doesn’t her direct more films? The style of The Equalizer is molded in similar fashion to that of Training Day. Dark streets, dimly shot alleys, mostly shot during the night, just parts of what make his films so captivating. Feels like Fuqua is trying to show you the dark underworld of street life that many of us don’t get to see. His theme usually exposes cops as crooked, yet the hero is usually an ordinary honorable man who stands by the motto “To Serve and Protect.” Fuqua and Denzel should team up more often, they produce magic together.
This is an outstanding movie by all accounts. Satisfactory, smart, and compelling. It would take some nit-picking to come up with negative aspects of the film. Yes, maybe McCall’s past isn’t presented in detail. Yes, maybe it’s a little over-the-top how one man can destroy an organized crime group. Yes, it was to gruesome. This movie isn’t a movie for everyone. If you are squeamish, you might have to look away a lot. The violence is in your face at most times. It’s not quite SAW, but not too far from it. The killing techniques displayed are ones you might be seeing for a first time on-screen. This film won’t win an Academy Award, it’s not that kind of a movie. What it is on the other hand is a tantalizing crime thriller that’s one of the best of it’s kind. Often critics and certain movie-goers put too much face value on art and the deep meaning of a film, instead of just enjoying it for what it is. I loved this film. Best one I’ve seen this year. It was everything I could have wanted in a thriller. Had me on the edge of my seat and locked in for every second. The theater roared and people clapped at multiple points. It’s entertaining as hell. Denzel does one of his finest work. I left the theater completely satisfied. It’s what we all pay to see. Be entertained. Feel like you spent your money well. Come out refreshed and excited. Most importantly fulfilled. It’s what movies should do to us. We overlook and search for more, when sometimes it was right in front of our face. This was two hours of entertainment, and I’m glad I got to see it.
The Equalizer- 9.5 out of 10!
One of the best action crime thrillers in years