The Equalizer – When you look at me, what do you see? – Review – SPOILERS
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see this until Wednesday due to being at EGX London (Video coming soon). After months of waiting I can say that it met all of my expectations. For years I’ve been waiting for a Denzel movie as fun, exciting and aggressive as Man on Fire was.
In the Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays the role of Robert McCall. Portrayed as a man of compassion and kindness working in a Homebase/B&Q department store with a very simple life. His past is something that only a few know and its a while before his past really comes into its own. The majority of the first act is character development between his work colleagues and people he meets in his very coordinated life. Perhaps something along the line of OCD is the reasons he is a well scheduled man with a common pattern. Due to insomnia, Robert end up in a diner in the early hours of the morning drinking tea and reading books. Often he arrives at the same time Chloe Grace Mortez’s character “Teri” is in the building. Upon meeting her, it is obvious that she is a prostitute. Evidently under the control of a pimp/group when she arrives the following night with a black eye. Unfortunately this isn’t the end of Teri’s problems. After spending time with Robert to avoid her job, she refuses to answer her phone and promptly ends up disappearing. Robert’s life continues on the normal schedule but he soon finds out that she was admitted to hospital due to being severely beaten by said pimps. This is where Robert becomes his past. Upon tracking down the pimp that beat her near to death, he gives them an offer. Payment for her freedom. Its turns out they didn’t like this offer and swiftly tell him to do one but as we all know, this is Denzel and he won’t be having any of that. After dispatching the 5 or 6 stains on humanity, McCall gets on with his life. Although we have a problem. These pimps weren’t just pimps. As a wing of the Russian Mob, many believe it to be a gang war execution and causes huge problems between the factions. From this point on it becomes a bit of cat and mouse until the Russian Teddy (Marton Csokas) tracks down the real culprit of the killing. During this time, Robert has taken it upon himself to deal with any crimes against his friends and once he catches wind of the mob on his tail, the real action begins. Chaos ensues on an epic scale as we watch the good and the bad face off.
Sure, its generic. However, the writers have created something on a far grander scale. A real story with real connections and just enough mystery to keep Robert’s character secret. His brand of retribution is comical and the people he interacts with actually have quite the impact on the story and make you appreciate Robert much more. Unlike Neeson in Taken or recently A Walk Among The Tombstones, Robert is a solid guy and his interactions only make him better. The outcome is very easy to predict but how it got to that point is the best part. Although action doesn’t happen for a large chunk of the movie, once it appears it is worth the wait. The creative ways used to evade, fight and kill are brutal. Mixed with a blend of slow motion effects and high contrast lighting, the fight scenes are great fun and greatly reminiscent of Tony Scott’s Man on Fire.
Visually the movie is great. As I previously mentioned, the slow motion is a fantastic addition to the combat. Perhaps its a little over used at points but it aids the capturing of the small pieces that you wouldn’t otherwise notice at a regular pace. As always the aim of the cinematographer is to present the villain as a psychotic asshole. Fortunately enough, it has been done well. When he is in the process of killing someone, life around him carries on as normal as the shot expands a little and draws on for a long period of time showing how casually he walks off his actions. As for the rest, the shots were nice. Nothing grabbed my attention and held me, really the visual effects for the combat etc were rather good but the rest is fairly neutral.
Denzel is one of my favourite actors. I don’t always watch his movies but I tend to hear good things about his acting and its been that way for years now. The Equalizer is no different. Its a well known fact that Denzel is also a rather nice man and in reality, he is down to earth. His characters are much the same and I feel that really propels him to the top of the bill. Chloe Grace Mortez is someone I’m not always drawn too. She was good in Kickass and is good in this, but casting her for a role that feels more of an extra role doesn’t feel quite right for someone in her position.
Overall, the movie is quality. Great fun, exciting and very tense. If Man on Fire sits at the top of your favourites list, like myself, you will certainly enjoy this outing. With a good balanced cast, great action and a well constructed script/story, The Equalizer is a movie that will stand with the greats of this year. 8/10 – Totally worth the watch!
Posted on 03/10/2014, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged 2014, action, crime, Denzel Washington, entertainment, Equalizer, film, gangs, Gangster movie, Man on Fire, movie, organized crime, review, Russian Mob, spoiler, Spoilers, thriller. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.