First in box office dollars this weekend, Denzel Washington’s newest action-packed thriller is full of enough violence and Russian gangsters to satisfy any lingering Cold War animosity. Robert McCall (Washington) is a retired, quaint man working at a neighborhood home improvement store. He regularly helps the people he meets, including a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) forced into the business by a gang of violent Russian mobsters. McCall possesses a special set of skills and embarks on a mission for justice, single-handedly confronting the baddest mob on the East Coast.
Denzel Washington transforms the movie from a mediocre “Taken” rip-off to an interesting mob avenging flick. His performance uplifts the whole film, though there were quite a few cheesy slow motion scenes the movie could have done without. “The Equalizer” implies a lot about McCall’s mysterious backstory, but doesn’t explicitly explain his previous employment or how he can murder 20 Russian guys at 60 years old without a scratch. Teddy (Martin Csokas) does an excellent job playing the sociopathic villain attempting to track down McCall. The audience is sufficiently creeped out by his lack of empathy and outright murderous nature.
“The Equalizer” could have been about half an hour shorter and still able to make an impact. The film seems to drag on and increase in ridiculousness as the plot continues. The skills McCall possesses make him seemingly invincible. In fact, only one Russian adversary seems to engage in a fair fight with our hero and even then he is ultimately overpowered. After the big standoff in McCall’s home improvement store, he tracks the head of the Russian operation back to the actual country of Russia and takes out an entire mansion of mobsters with ease. At this point in the film, McCall’s superhero-like skills become almost laughable. If the already lengthy film were half an hour longer, McCall probably could have taken out every Russian citizen in the country.
Despite the plot becoming sillier as it goes along, Washington still gives a powerful performance and the movie makes a really cool action flick.
The film is rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references.