Movie Review – The Equalizer

Denzel Washington has a unique ability to elevate anything he’s in. You can pretty much bank on the fact he’ll raise a film by one mark on whichever scale you care to mention. He oozes quality and provides an assured presence. The story could be preposterous, but old Denzel will ground it and form a bond with the audience.

This is why I generally ‘love a bit of Denzel’.

Based on the 80’s TV series of the same name Robert McCall is a retired black ops specialist, attempting to live a more normal life. He’s a great guy to have around, helping his co-workers and friends with their own goals whilst working in a Home Depot. He even plays on the work baseball team.

But when those he knows end up in harms way he can’t stand idly by, and the skill set he developed over his career come back in full force. What does that remind you of?

If you said Taken…ding ding ding we have a winner! In many ways The Equalizer is highly reminiscent of Taken; an older guy taking down bad guys in an extremely non-compromising way. The main differences are that The Equalizer is nowhere near as taut in it’s storytelling, and it also much more graphic.

The film does a good job of showing us McCall’s life and introducing us to those around him. It clearly sets up his need to help people and gives strong reasons for why he would pick up that lifestyle again. The skills he has and the drive to help are too strong and he’ll never be content unless they are put to use. When they are are be prepared for some possibly uncomfortable violence; far more than I expected to see. So if you’re on the squeamish side watch out.

It’s not a long film (especially in the current world with many films topping 150 minutes), but it could have been more efficient with some flab taken out of the middle. Though the ending seems very fitting for the character I couldn’t help but feel that it was slightly anti-climatic. It is Washington in slo-mo though, so it’s not all bad.

The Equalizer may not be high brow, but it is well directed and acted. Washington sprinkles some stardust onto what could have been an extremely average big screen adaptation. I’ll check out the inevitable sequel when it comes around.


  1. The "Taken" comparison is apt and slightly ironic given that Neeson's latest "A Walk Among The Tombstones" is actually closer in tone and execution to "The Equalizer" TV series.

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