Based on the classic television series starring Edward Woodward, “The Equalizer” focuses on Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when McCall meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her.
Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalise the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened.
As you would expect, Denzel Washington delivers an excellent performance in the lead role. While he won’t win any awards, his ability to shift almost instantly from an everyday hardware store assistant to a vigilante shouldn’t go unrecognised.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the supporting cast. Chloë Grace Moretz doesn’t seem overly comfortable in the role of a hooker and Marton Csokas, who plays Teddy – the leader of the Russian gangsters, is unconvincing and fails to make his on-screen presence felt, especially in comparison to Washington.
Prior to each fight, McCall pre-visualises the entire scene before it takes place. This works in a similar fashion to the Robert Downey Jr. “Sherlock Holmes” series of films. Director Antoine Fuqua’s use of cinematography during such scenes has been brilliantly executed and particularly stands out.
Nevertheless, the main problem with The Equalizer is that it creates a lot of tension over its two hour running time, though nothing ever comes of it. That is until the final act, in which McCall builds “Home Alone”-like traps in the hardware store where he works, using items on sale (such as tree pruners, drills and nail guns). It makes for an exciting finale and is the highlight of the film, though most viewers will already have switched off by this point.