Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review: The Equalizer

Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
Robert McCall, Denzel Washington's character in Antoine Fuqua's entertaining but completely preposterous "The Equalizer," is more similar to Jason Vorhees than your typical action film hero. During the course of the film's two-plus hours, McCall creeps stealthily around in the dark, picking off Russian mobsters courtesy of barbed wire nooses, knives, corkscrews, microwaves, arrows and other sharp looking devices.

This is one of those films in which the hero can take on 20 men without gaining a scratch or even breaking a sweat. In other words, it can be a whole lot of fun if you don't consider who utterly absurd it often is.

Based on the 1980's TV show of the same name, Fuqua's film introduces Robert as a kind man who works at an emporium baring some resemblance to Home Depot in a suburb of Boston. He attempts to assist an overweight co-worker drop some pounds, so that he can nab a gig as a security guard and comes to the rescue of a young Russian prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz), whom he sees nightly at a quiet diner, where he sits in a corner by himself reading "The Old Man and the Sea."

Moretz's Teri is badly beaten one evening by a pimp and ends up in the hospital, leading McCall to track down the Russian crew for whom she works in an attempt to pay for her freedom. When that doesn't work, he goes to town with the aforementioned corkscrew and other assorted sharp and blunt objects.

A sadistic Russian enforcer named Teddy (Marton Csokas) arrives in town with the intention of cleaning up the mess made by McCall, whom he tracks, but has difficulty finding out who he really is. This one of the film's problems - for much of the picture, McCall is a vague figure. At one point, he pays a visit to some old friends (Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman) and we find out whom his previous employer was as well as obtain some minor information about the death of McCall's wife. But otherwise, the character is an enigma.

That being said, Washington is an actor who can do a lot with a little as is typically the case when he is cast in action films similar to this one. The only slight disappointment here is that the picture marks his reunion with director Antoine Fuqua, with whom he previously worked together on "Training Day," which netted him the Best Actor Oscar. "The Equalizer" is pretty entertaining, but never much more than a straightforward action movie with little in the way of character development and lots of violence.

So, those hoping to see Washington deliver the type of gravitas that you can typically expect from the actor might be a little disappointed - not that he doesn't bring the goods, but that he's given little with which to work. But those hoping for an enjoyable and fast paced action thriller will likely be satisfied.

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking forward to this movie for the action. Denzel is one of my favorites. Hopefully, the character will expand in future sequels.