No one’s badder than ‘The Equalizer’
If you thought Denzel Washington was a bad ass before, wait until you see him in “The Equalizer.”
Based on a popular TV show from the ‘80s (which I’ve never seen), Washington plays Robert McCall, a man who wishes to live a quiet life and bury his mysterious past by working at a hardware store and quietly reading his book while sipping tea in the neighborhood diner. Chloe Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass”) plays a young Russian prostitute who McCall befriends and when she gets beat up by her pimp, that’s when Washington starts kicking all sorts of butt.
That’s about as complicated as the plot gets, and honestly, in this film, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all about how McCall methodically eliminates any threat that comes his way.
The first action piece takes place when McCall goes after the Russian pimps and takes them out in mere seconds with some efficient yet gory killings. That action commences a domino effect of bad things happening to McCall, but he’s not fazed one bit. McCall remains emotionless, plugging the bad guys away, and while some may perceive that lack of emotion to be a flaw in the film, I saw it as a perfect fit for his character. McCall is a killing machine. He wipes out the scum of the city like he would any chore such as throwing away the trash. It’s just something that has to be done. And he does it all while wearing Mom jeans.
I loved watching Washington riding that fine line between good and bad, and it’s fitting that “The Equalizer” is directed by Antoine Fuqua, the director of “Training Day,” a film where Washington played the villain and wound up winning an Academy Award for his performance. It’s not Washington’s most charismatic performance, but definitely one of his most memorable. I can’t wait to see these two team up once again.
The supporting actors are all great as well. Marton Tsokas as the Russian mobster, Teddy, is an admirable adversary for McCall and portrays his ruthlessness without going over the top. Much like McCall, killing is merely a task for Terry and he’s almost as good as McCall in taking care of his business. Almost. Grace Mortez is fine as Teri, but is more of a plot device than a character. I was more intrigued by the former CIA married couple played by Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo, who provide McCall with the intel on the Russian mafia. If there is a sequel to this film (and rumor is it’s already been greenlit) I hope to see more of them in it.
There isn’t much depth to “The Equalizer,” but the film doesn’t aspire to get deep on you. It’s all about Washington kicking butt and being incredibly smooth while doing so. While watching “The Equalizer” I couldn’t help but think about the LA cops in “True Romance” and how they described their love of the fictional film “Coming Home in a Body Bag” – “Now that’s a great f—– movie.”