Director Antoine Faqua and Denzel Washington have only made one film together, Training Day, which earned Denzel an Academy Award. Collaborating again, this time for The Equalizer, Denzel and Faqua have made another equally impressive film, but this time with DW as the good guy allowing us to get right behind the character.
Beginning with the ordinary life of Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), we exaggeratingly see that is a routine man and secluded life to time perfection. But after befriending Terri (Chloe Grace-Moretz’s singer come prostitute character) she is beaten by thugs. Not being able to standby and do nothing, McCall retaliates with the only way he knows going back into his mystery past.
Although top-billed, Chloe Grace-Moretz has only fifteen-minutes screen time of the over two-hour feature. That, with perhaps a little too much time focused on ordinary life routine leaves McCall with a rather flimsy excuse and minimal hesitation to go back to his former attacking and defending black ops-commando lifestyle. From then onwards DW’s McCall tackles crooked cops and stereotypical vodka drinking Russia mobsters left, right and centre as well as bonkers explosions that even Michael Bay would be jealous of - cools guys don’t look at explosions, indeed.
Presented very much as a superhero, McCall, before any killing sequences gets almost a spider-sense vision and everything slows down as he accesses possible weapons nearby before swiftly killing. At one point he clears a room of armed Russian mobsters in just 28 seconds - all with a bottle-opener! Impress yes, but it sadly verges on the fantasy rather than reality.
Washington, even though a bad-ass commando, has a quiet and malice role. So much so, that the humorous moments, whilst subtle and quirky often seem misplaced as if there should be slightly more, or slightly less to fit in with the films overall ethos. Is he taking it too serious or not?
Now aged fifty-nine, Washington seems to have found the action-hero mojo later in his career as Neeson did. And both, whilst Rambo-esqe killing professionals still lack the much needed catch-phrases after killing … ‘You have been equalized´- for example.
The finale of The Equalizer takes place B&Q style warehouse showdown. As the action galore highlight of the film, it fulfils any fantasies to kill someone with mere house-hold tools. But does a spectacular ending make up for the otherwise mediocre beginning and middle?
Based on the almost ninety episode series from the eighties, The Equalizer has already had a sequel confirmed before any general release - which whilst premature makes it Denzel’s first-ever sequel to any of his films. With each of his latest movies racking in at least $20 million dollars on opening weekends alone, this is also a likely winner and quite possibly his first franchise?