Front Row at the Movies
In "The Equalizer" Denzel Washington Sets Things Right
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Life ain’t fair. Or so it sometimes seems. Therefore we have an innate desire to see justice done.
That’s where "The Equalizer" comes in. A third-party guy -- Deus ex machina, if you will -- who steps in to set things right.
There used to be an old TV program called "The Equalizer," starring British actor Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a covert ops guy who lends his skills to help people in need. He offered his services for free through a newspaper ad that read: "Odds against you? Need help? Call the Equalizer. 212-555-4200."
Here again is Robert McCall (Washington), a Special Forces guy with a shaved head and a big gun. Hoping to put his violent past behind him, he has a change of plans when he encounters a teenaged hooker named Teri (Chloë Grace Maritz) who has been brutally beaten by the Russian mob. Not willing to stand by and allow such abuse, he uses his dangerous skills to set things right. Which leads him to a new career as The Equalizer.
"The Equalizer" is currently knocking heads at Tropic Cinema.
As directed by Antoine Fuqua (he teamed with Denzel Washington on the Oscar-winning cop thriller "Training Day"), you may find the cinematic handling of "The Equalizer" reminiscent other of action pix. Even Matt Damon said, it "reminded me of the Bourne Identity, in that both are sophisticated adult, thriller franchises where the protagonists are capable of high-action exploits, but aren't running around in spandex."
While the film offers all the prerequisite gun battles, explosions, and Rated-R bloodletting, this is still at its core a very character-driven profile of Robert McCall, a mysterious man who had rather keep to himself, but his OCD personality requires him to set wrongs right. One moviegoer accurately described McCall as "a darker hero for a darker time."
Yes, "The Equalizer" is a remake in name only. It’s planned as a two-fisted new film franchise for Denzel Washington. That’s where the money is. A sequel has already been greenlighted.