THE EQUALIZER Movie Review
Denzel Washington, he can do no wrong. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. He has one of the best track records when it comes to bankable stars in Hollywood. He’s made some outstanding movies in his long career, Philadelphia, Malcolm X and Inside Man to name but a few. The Equalizer is his latest movie and this time around it seems like he’s going into the realm that Liam Neeson has garnered fame in the last few years, the old man who is nice and responsible and incredibly dangerous if pissed off genre. Without further ado I give you Agent Of Geeks review of The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington and Chloe Grace Moretz (kind of).
The Equalizer opens to Robert McCall preparing himself for the day, this is a man set in his routine. Between an immaculate apartment to his nightly visit to his local diner this man has created his own perfect little world. He has a safe job working in a DIY store where he helps his co-workers with their everyday lives. He is beloved by all, ruffles no feathers and goes about his days without a care in the world until he meets Teri(Moretz). Teri is a down on her luck working girl who makes wrong decision after wrong decision which ends with her in the hospital after getting beaten half to death. Feeling a connection with this girl McCall decides to take actions into his own hands with literal explosive consequences.
The Equalizer is not a good movie, I have to get that out-of-the-way right now. This movie proved that the premise of older, experienced men taking vengeance was indeed a novelty. Whereas Taken had the right mix of believability and outright intense action, The Equalizer is a bad videogame mixed with the dialogue of a Michael Bay movie. We are given a faultless hero and an incredibly despicable villain who is so laughably over the top you’ll be counting the minutes until his eventual death. I honestly could not take The Equalizer seriously, between the cringe inducing dialogue which tries so hard to be memorable to the over-abundant use of bullet time which McCall seems to have access to for no reason save for looking really, really cool. What particularly irritated me was the complete misuse of Chloe Grace Moretz’s character Teri. She is the reason McCall gets back in the dispensing of justice game and yet she’s not seen again until the very end of the movie. She could have easily been used as a moral barometer for McCall. Our eyes into his world so that we slowly see his past unfold to us. Instead she is mentioned once and then McCall’s past is vaguely given to us by an oddly placed Bill Pullman cameo. Now not all is wrong in The Equalizer, the first half hour is decent, Washington and Moretz have some chemistry and as usual Washington is his usual charming self . The first time Washington “equalizes” is intense and well set up unfortunately the novelty wears thin, especially after the fifth time he deals his particular brand of justice. It’s funny because after the fourth time of “equalizing” we don’t even see him do it. A guy steals something from a friend of his and then he follows the guy outside the store with a hammer and then the next scene we see him cleaning the hammer. It feels like the movie is saying, “you guys know what happened, we don’t need to show you”.
This is a monumentally average movie, between an overuse of slow motion that would make Zach Snyder blush, to a cool guy walking away from an explosion moment which baffles all reason. Washington has fallen into the same trap Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks has fallen into. He’s the nice guy that everybody loves, if you’re in the movie and you don’t like him well you must be the bad guy. He’s affable, always comes out on top and never lets the little guy get too far down on his luck. He’s also the most plain Jane character archetype we’ve seen in all forms of media. This is also considered in my eyes the Superman syndrome, but unlike Superman who has slowly evolved with the times, actors like Washington, Cruise and Hanks every now and then take a step back and play it safe. This is what The Equalizer is, a safe, good versus evil battle. It’s funny really because if you’re looking for an intense thriller with Denzel Washington look no further than Man On Fire. Stay in, spend the money you would have used on the movie and get yourself some pizza and enjoy.