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Review: The Equalizer + video review!

The Equalizer + video review!
09.25.2014
9 10

The Equalizer Denzel Washington bannerSee Chris Bumbray's Video Review below!
Originally reviewed as part of JoBlo.com's TIFF 2014 coverage.

PLOT: Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is an ex-special operative now leading a quiet life as the manager of a home improvement store in Boston. When he avenges the beating of a young call girl (Chloe Moretz) he finds himself the target of the Russian mob. Little do they know, McCall is more than their match.

REVIEW: Many of you younger readers may not know this, but THE EQUALIZER was originally a TV show in the eighties that starred Edward Woodward as a kind of James Bond-style figure turned urban vigilante, specializing in helping the downtrodden who find themselves against incredible odds (hence the title). It always seemed like a natural for the big screen treatment, and the resulting film certainly belongs near the top of the heap as far as TV-to-film adaptations go, alongside movies like THE UNTOUCHABLES and the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE series.

The Equalizer Denzel Washington 2014

The role of Robert McCall seems tailor-made for Washington. While the part may not initially seem like too much of a stretch for him, director Antoine Fuqua and writer Richard Wenk (whose script was so solid it made “The Black List” a few years ago) have gone through great pains to make him different from previous Washington heroes, specifically his Creasey character from MAN OF FIRE, to which this would seem to have a lot of similarities. McCall is different in that he's not especially tortured or on the edge. Rather, he's a genuinely kindhearted man with a soft spot for the oppressed or marginalized. He likes people, with him using his day job to kid around with the staff (when asked about his shadowy background he tells them he was one of Gladys Knight's Pips) and help a chubby colleague lose some weight to get the new job he wants. He's a sweetheart, who just happens to have a James Bond-level talent for killing bad guys (and in creative ways to boot). One nice piece of business is McCall's determination to read the “100 books you need to read before you die” as a tribute to his late wife, who was working through the list herself before she passed. It's a sweet character moment we don't often get with most action flicks preoccupied with jamming as many action set-pieces as they can. Non-stop action can often be monotonous and that's something Fuqua seems to understand

As a result, we spend a lot of time getting to know McCall before anything heavy goes down. The first action scene doesn't happen for awhile, but when it does come it has more of an impact as we've gotten to know McCall and Chloe Moretz' call girl, who's enslaved to her brutal Russian pimps. Just as McCall is a different kind of hero, the action is also very distinctive, with guns used sparingly. Instead we get a lot of impressively choreographed hand-to-hand scenes, including a brutal brawl late in the film with McCall and a baddie squaring off with pieces of broken glass. Otherwise Washington's McCall seems like a bit of a minimalist when it comes to dispatching villains (with the body count surely being in the dozens) preferring to use every day items like cork screws, books, sledge hammers, and most brutally, a nail gun.

The Equalizer Denzel Washington Marton Czokas

One especially noteworthy thing about THE EQUALIZER is how brutal the action is, with this being a hard R. There are no cartoonish CGI squibs either, instead the wounds are graphic, and the fights are brutal. While an action film doesn't have to be violent to be great, I'd say THE EQUALIZER pretty much does, as the carnage McCall inflicts on the villains is supposed to be unsettling, with the point of his character being that he's an essentially kind man who nonetheless, is a brutally efficient killer with no qualms about downright murdering people he thinks have it coming. Considering the absolute sadism of the villains, particularly Marton Czokas' brutal mob fixer, you can't really blame him.

If THE EQUALIZER has any weakness at all, it's that McCall seems almost superhuman, with him able to anticipate any attack before it happens. As such, he seems almost indestructible and while Czokas is very good, he's more of a henchman and next time it would be interesting to see him pitted against a bad guy who's really his equal. Still, that's a fairly minor criticism for what's easily the best American action movie to come out in a long time.

As a show, THE EQUALIZER ran for years and years, and this could easily become a really good franchise for Washington and Fuqua, who's turning into one of the best action directors in the business (although as he favors dark lighting, top notch projection is a must). This has a lot more heart than your average thriller, and hopefully will become the big crossover it the studio is expecting – with it being one of the highest testing films in Sony history. Bring on THE EQUALIZER 2!

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Source: JoBlo.com

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2:59PM on 09/29/2014

Total Crap

This was one of the worst films I have ever seen. How can he just go back to living in his neighborhood after he killed all those people? What a load of garbage and a waste of 2 hrs. The film was crap and cliche. oh and he magically appears in Moscow at the end. He is unstoppable and is filled with stupid subplots. Way to run out of ideas Hollywood. If McGuyver and Leon the professional had a bastard child that was kept in the attic, "The Equalizer" would be that poor bastard.
This was one of the worst films I have ever seen. How can he just go back to living in his neighborhood after he killed all those people? What a load of garbage and a waste of 2 hrs. The film was crap and cliche. oh and he magically appears in Moscow at the end. He is unstoppable and is filled with stupid subplots. Way to run out of ideas Hollywood. If McGuyver and Leon the professional had a bastard child that was kept in the attic, "The Equalizer" would be that poor bastard.
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6:58PM on 10/02/2014
I love your passion, maybe a spoiler warning next time though?
I love your passion, maybe a spoiler warning next time though?
11:18AM on 09/27/2014
I loved it, here's hoping for a part 2.


I loved it, here's hoping for a part 2.


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1:38AM on 09/27/2014
thank you,this cemented my ticket
thank you,this cemented my ticket
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9:57PM on 09/26/2014
I thought it was great and that Denzel has never been better. Entertaining throughout the entire film. Especially the ending where it's just him and all of the villains going head to head.
I thought it was great and that Denzel has never been better. Entertaining throughout the entire film. Especially the ending where it's just him and all of the villains going head to head.
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7:21PM on 09/26/2014

7/10

It was great action. Great throw back to the old cheesy action movies. This is probably what the Expendables should of been. Marton Csokas delivers as a really good villain, as usual. Washington was a really good anti-hero/hero, as usual. It's better than most of the movies, and way better than most of the action movies that came out this year. The downsides were you could have shaved 30-40 minutes off of this easily and still been good, if not better. I felt like I was watching fucking Return
It was great action. Great throw back to the old cheesy action movies. This is probably what the Expendables should of been. Marton Csokas delivers as a really good villain, as usual. Washington was a really good anti-hero/hero, as usual. It's better than most of the movies, and way better than most of the action movies that came out this year. The downsides were you could have shaved 30-40 minutes off of this easily and still been good, if not better. I felt like I was watching fucking Return of the King here for the last 45 minutes.

Spoilers//






There was a 20-30 minute scene set in the Home Depot (called Home Mart) that could have been an entire short film called Home Alone Depot. The happy go lucky side characters, from the hooker who wants to be a singer to the fat guy that "aspires" to be a Home Mart security guard was just fucking stupid. I know it's meant as an homage to the happy go lucky cheesiness of 80's action but it just felt dumb. Overall, Id spend my money here than in most other movies this year, but so far, that isn't saying much.
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5:28PM on 09/26/2014
Yo, just saw it and that was pretty awesome! Felt a touch long, but i think its because of the pacing, it does take its time to build to moments, but the moments are worth it. Crowd cheered several times during the film...Denzel's performance is as awesome as you think..its a good no hold barred action film.
Yo, just saw it and that was pretty awesome! Felt a touch long, but i think its because of the pacing, it does take its time to build to moments, but the moments are worth it. Crowd cheered several times during the film...Denzel's performance is as awesome as you think..its a good no hold barred action film.
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7:35AM on 09/26/2014
IMAX screening tonight...
oh yes
IMAX screening tonight...
oh yes
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2:54AM on 09/26/2014

oh yes !


Opens next wednesday in France ! Can't f*****g wait !

Opens next wednesday in France ! Can't f*****g wait !
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10:56AM on 09/08/2014
I'm sure it's fantastic, which is why I fully expect it to flop.
I'm sure it's fantastic, which is why I fully expect it to flop.
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11:38PM on 09/07/2014
I know action stars'careers these days can be extended like the expendables, but it's still something to appreciate: a guy who is a great actor, about to turn 60 in a couple months, headlining a Hollywood action movie the way he did 20 years ago--and not just in something going straight to video. Good for him.
I know action stars'careers these days can be extended like the expendables, but it's still something to appreciate: a guy who is a great actor, about to turn 60 in a couple months, headlining a Hollywood action movie the way he did 20 years ago--and not just in something going straight to video. Good for him.
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8:52PM on 09/07/2014
Antoine is a master of action thrillers and adding Denzel into the mix only makes it better. Very excited.
Antoine is a master of action thrillers and adding Denzel into the mix only makes it better. Very excited.
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7:43AM on 09/08/2014
A master of action thrillers? What kind of action movies do you like?

Bait - terrible

Training day - good, but a little overrated. The cast and writer took this one higher than most would

Tears of sun - absolutely generic but WAS a decent watch when it came out

King Arthur - I'd say underrated. Similar to Tears

Shooter - terrible

Brooklyn's finest - ok but absolutely generic. I can name 5 films like this. Same with Tears

Olympus has fallen - at worst it's decent. If he was trying to
A master of action thrillers? What kind of action movies do you like?

Bait - terrible

Training day - good, but a little overrated. The cast and writer took this one higher than most would

Tears of sun - absolutely generic but WAS a decent watch when it came out

King Arthur - I'd say underrated. Similar to Tears

Shooter - terrible

Brooklyn's finest - ok but absolutely generic. I can name 5 films like this. Same with Tears

Olympus has fallen - at worst it's decent. If he was trying to make it cheesy, then I'll give him higher points. Again, completely unoriginal as to where we had 2 similar movies that year.

He's made things that have been enjoyable when I watched them, but aside from TDay I'd never want to watch one again.

Honestly, I'd say Bay is a better at action thrillers (and I haven't even seen T2-T4). At least Bay has a style. Fuque is closer to Brett Ratner, tho he's underrated. A lot of his stuff is decent, but still bland


+2
8:47PM on 09/07/2014
I'm glad this is good. I was planning to see it anyway, since I am a sucker for a Denzel action flick, but the fact this is so good is definitely a plus. Though, between the trailer and the track record of both Fuqua and Washington, I was confident this would be good.
I'm glad this is good. I was planning to see it anyway, since I am a sucker for a Denzel action flick, but the fact this is so good is definitely a plus. Though, between the trailer and the track record of both Fuqua and Washington, I was confident this would be good.
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8:17PM on 09/07/2014
Wasn't expecting this to get such a high rating; was figuring it at like a 7/10. This is good news.
Wasn't expecting this to get such a high rating; was figuring it at like a 7/10. This is good news.
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7:43PM on 09/07/2014
9/10? Another must watch.
9/10? Another must watch.
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6:27PM on 09/07/2014

I will definetly check it out!

"Fuqua, who's
turning into one of the best action
directors in the business"

Turning?? I think OVER-looked is more appropriate. I have yet to hate any film on his résume: King Arthur, Tears of the Sun and even Shooter are still enjoyable and underrated (heck, even the Replacement Killers was ok though it felt like an arm wrestling match for creative control between him and John Woo)

The thing I like about Fuqua's films is that you actually care for the characters because there's just
"Fuqua, who's
turning into one of the best action
directors in the business"

Turning?? I think OVER-looked is more appropriate. I have yet to hate any film on his résume: King Arthur, Tears of the Sun and even Shooter are still enjoyable and underrated (heck, even the Replacement Killers was ok though it felt like an arm wrestling match for creative control between him and John Woo)

The thing I like about Fuqua's films is that you actually care for the characters because there's just something "intimate" about how he does it which is one of the reasons his White House under siege movie was better than Emmerich's which relied too much on "gimmicks".
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4:59PM on 09/07/2014
God damn, Sep. 26th couldn't come any sooner!
God damn, Sep. 26th couldn't come any sooner!
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4:51PM on 09/07/2014
So glad to hear it. Denzel hads played similar type roles in his career and and I am happy to hear that this is fresh and inventive. I loved Edward Woodward in th original because he seemed so approachable (as Robert McCall). That's the way it should be. If it as darker than it needs to be it would be almost like watching a sequel to "Man on Fire," I'm not saying a sequel would be a bad thing but it it would be wrong for "The Equaliser."
So glad to hear it. Denzel hads played similar type roles in his career and and I am happy to hear that this is fresh and inventive. I loved Edward Woodward in th original because he seemed so approachable (as Robert McCall). That's the way it should be. If it as darker than it needs to be it would be almost like watching a sequel to "Man on Fire," I'm not saying a sequel would be a bad thing but it it would be wrong for "The Equaliser."
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3:49PM on 09/07/2014
Not surprised. This sounded and looked great from the start.

Can't wait to see Denzel back in badass mode.
Not surprised. This sounded and looked great from the start.

Can't wait to see Denzel back in badass mode.
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3:23PM on 09/07/2014
Soooo glad to hear this R rating is going to be worth it. PG-13 action films should be illegal.
Soooo glad to hear this R rating is going to be worth it. PG-13 action films should be illegal.
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+0
2:42PM on 09/07/2014

Wow

That was unexpected.
That was unexpected.
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8:48PM on 09/07/2014
Not really. Been generating positive buzz for awhile.
Not really. Been generating positive buzz for awhile.
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