The Equalizer

Year 2014

Denzel Washington as Robert McCall
Marton Csokas as  Teddy
ChloŽ Grace Moretz   as Teri
Vladimir Kulich as Vladimir Pushkin  
Director - Antoine Fuqua
Screenwriter - Richard Wenk

Denzel Washington is The Equalizer! The Equalizer neither puts you to sleep nor lets you sleep, but does equal parts of both. The Equalizer neither offers sympathetic characters nor characters that are pure evil, but offers equal parts of both in each character.

The Equalizer is (everybody together, now), a retired uber-killing machine who gets dragged back into the whole killing thing. How original! Forget about the half-dozen other movies with the same theme that were released in 2014 alone. This is something that's never been done before. Or so the director and screenwriter hope that you'll believe. Based on the IMdB score and the fact that there's a sequel planned, you can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

For starters of what's wrong with this movie, let's take the main character (away, far away, and leave him there). Robert McCall sits in a coffee shop night after night watching a young girl get deeper and deeper into prostitution. Then one night, he decides to do something. All of the other nights, I guess it's just none of his business. Prostitution is alright with him, I guess. Girls being used and treated like slaves? No big deal...until that fateful night!

So, immediately, I don't like Robert McCall. If he's a saint, he should always be a saint and not just once in a while when he feels like it. Oh, he helps old people and stuff, but he's not someone I'd count on to help me. I suppose he's supposed to be slow to anger. For me, he came off as being apathetic.

And why THAT diner? There are two people important to the plot in that diner. McCall (Washington) and a prostitute named Teri (Moretz). There are three people total in the diner. What are the odds that the two characters will meet? That the one other person in the diner just happens to be some sort of killing machine that will save her? Maybe every small diner in Boston (where the action takes place) is required to have an ex-mafia or ex-"Agency" patron hanging around in the middle of the night just to be on the lookout for prostitutes in trouble.

You never know. Perhaps if Teri had gone to a diner two blocks over she would have met up with Mark Wahlberg. Two blocks down and maybe it would have been Robert Downey, Junior. You get my point though about the odds of something like this happening.

It's never explained if McCall is an insomniac. He's up in the morning and yet he's at the diner in the middle of the night. Is he a day person or a night person? He's apparently both.

There's one other coincidence that I found unpalatable. The big, nearly entertaining final shoot-out is in a place where someone McCall befriended works. There must be...what? About a hundred people who live in Boston? Can't be more or the coincidences would just be too hard to believe.

After he finally decides to maybe do something about Teri, McCall kills a bunch of people and even kills Vladimir Putin, uh, sorry, Pushkin in a lame attempt at political relavancy. Did a certain elected official fund this personally at taxpayer expense? You know, a black guy kicking Putin's, uh, Pushkin's butt in Russia? Or are Antoine Fuqua and Richard Wenk just suck-ups hoping to get invited to the White House?

Seriously, this movie comes across as being excessively pandering. This detracted from the movie. If McCall had just stayed out of Russia, it would've improved the movie. But no, he goes into Putin's, uh, Pushkin's home, in Russia, unchallenged and equalizes things.

Denzel Washington is the main draw for watching the movie. You have to ask yourself if you're a Denzel Washington fan. If the answer is no, then there are better choices. John Wick, released the same year is more violent, imaginative, and engrossing. Want to go back a few years? Check out Taken. Want to see a female kick butt in a science fiction themed movie? Try Ultraviolet.

You see there are movies where Denzel Washington is the star. Movies like Training Day. Then there Denzel Washington star vehicles like The Equalizer. Denzel Washington doesn't really act in these star vehicles. He's just being Denzel Washington showing off. If you like these kinds of movies, then maybe The Equalizer will keep you interested. The plot sure won't. Neither will any interchange among the characters.

This is worse than a made for television movie.

As long as I'm ranting, what's up with the name ChloŽ Grace Moretz? Why are there umlauts over the e? Does that mean it's pronounced differently than Chloe? For all I know it is. But for all I know, it's mere pretension. I doubt if her parents spelled her name like that. But maybe I'm wrong. I guess I shouldn't sound off about it. Especially considering that I'm a big fan of Blue ÷yster Cult.

There's blasphemy and profanity. There are impossible situations and unlikable characters. In spite of the shooting, it's a dull, predictable, rehash of dozens of similar movies. There's nothing new about it. But if, and only if, you're a fan of Denzel Washington movies, you might like it.

Back to the "Torn and Frayed " list or the main movie list.