DIR: Antoine Fuqua • WRI: Richard Wenk • PRO: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Denzel Washington • DOP: Mauro Fiore • ED: John Refoua • DES: Naomi Shohan • MUS: Harry Gregson-Williams • CAST: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo
The Equalizer is in essence a reboot of the 1980s television show of the same time. The story follows McCall (not to be confused with McClane). McCall is a man with a mysterious government-tainted past who uses his unique set of skills to help those who could not escape the clutches of danger themselves. This movie reboot is significantly darker than its predecessor and Denzel Washington works hard to reinvent a much beloved character as his own.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) makes a strained attempt to move on from a mysterious past but can’t help but intervene when he uncovers a young woman Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz) under the control of Russian gangsters. McCall vows to help her in whatever way he can -thus unleashing a protective fury that would probably make Liam Neeson blush
The Equalizer certainly doesn’t feel like your average TV cop show reboot and feels more like a welcome addition to the Bourne saga as we witness McCall’s inability to shake off a not-so-distant pass when faced with the peril of others. It is slightly jarring as we are so used to the comedic timing of a witty ex-cop John McClane archetype, that here Washington plays a somewhat introverted, more pensive and less charismatic character which takes the film from an average action thriller to a suspenseful character-driven narrative.
Personally speaking, I am notoriously squeamish and whilst The Equalizer is expectedly gory and explosive in parts, it only occasionally feels excessive as the viewer is brought straight back into the heart of the story through its fully developed three-dimensional characters. The downside to this being the fact that we are expecting an all-out action offensive, which does unfortunately mean that the switch to character-driven dramatic thriller makes the film seem overly long in parts.
Washington gives a good performance here as we have come to expect, but Chloe Grace Moretz steals the show in a role intended for someone much older. Her talent far belies her age as she strays far away from previous roles here. Moretz has already managed to avoid teen typecasting and has shown her strengths in a variety of roles this year, solidifying her status as one of today’s brightest young actresses.
Whilst The Equalizer is far from an inspired tale and may not stay with you for years to come, it certainly defies expectation. Once you’ve got yourself set up ready for a traditional fun brainless action movie, you might be surprised to find yourself sucked in with this suspenseful and engaging thriller with characters you realize you don’t really want to see blown up.
If that’s not a good endorsement for an action movie, I don’t know what is.
16 (See IFCO for details)
The Equalizer is released 26th September 2014