Some Washington Justice
To his work colleagues at the hardware store Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is just a nice guy who goes about his works and helps others to improve themselves, the only thing different is he has some OCD tendencies when it comes to things being in the right place. But McCall has a secret past; one he has tried hard to keep in the past but that all changes when he meets Teri (Chlo├ź Grace Moretz), a young girl who is prostituted by some violent Russian gangsters who hospitalize her. With his secret skills McCall pays these men a visit and serves final justice on them but in doing so opens a can of worms as he finds himself being targeted by a ruthless assassin working for the gangster's boss.
My appreciation of movies is simple, if I watch a movie and immediately want to watch it again the movie is typically 4 stars. If in a few years time I find myself still wanting to watch the movie again and again, having gone out of my way to buy it on DVD, this is when it becomes 5 stars. I mention this because at the moment "The Equalizer" is a 4 star movie because within one week of first watching it I watched it a further 2 times. What is surprising is that as someone who grew up watching Edward Woodward in the 80s "The Equalizer" TV show I enjoyed this TV movie update as much as I did.
Well I said it is a surprise but in truth what director Antoine Fuqua and all those involved in this movie did was take us back to the 80s. I don't mean in setting but in style as "The Equalizer" keeps things simple but entertaining at the same time. As such we have McCall as a good guy with killer skills taking on the bad guys having hurt those who can't fight back and often doing so in ingenious ways, yes we have a microwave used to create an explosion as well as a few fancy gadgets. Yes the violence in "The Equalizer" is certainly more in your face as we see various people meet their bloody demise but in many ways it harks back to the violence of 80s action movies but without glorifying it.
Now a lot of credit for making "The Equalizer" work has to go to Denzel Washington for making Robert McCall such a wonderful character. On one hand you have his nice guy persona, his friendly motivational side and on top of that we have his OCD habits which are nicely controlled when it comes to things being just right. Yet we also have his killer side, yet it is a controlled side, emotionally detached which makes him quite frightening without being over the top. Over the top comes from some of the visuals which are a bit indulgent, but that is another matter. But most importantly there are just the right number and types of gaps in McCall's past that we want to know more about who he was and the decisions he made, making this prime for a sequel.
What this all boils down to is that "The Equalizer" was a much better movie than I expected and one which having already watched it three times will continue to return to when I want some uncomplicated action entertainment.