There’s nothing remotely new about “The Equalizer.” Hollywood cranks out movies about quiet, unassuming men who turn out to be elite killing machines who go on bloody revenge sprees after being pushed to the limit on a regular basis.
In this latest version, Denzel Washington stars as Robert McCall, a quiet, unassuming man who works at a faux-Home Depot. Robert can’t sleep at night so he spends the early morning hours reading in a diner. It is there that he frequently chats with Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young prostitute working for ruthless Russian thugs.
When Teri’s boss beats her to the point of hospitalization, Robert can stand by idly no more. He offers to pay off Teri’s boss for her freedom but he’s not interested. Robert proceeds to violently kill Teri’s boss and his half-dozen, heavily-armed guards.
Unfortunately, Teri was working for goons who were working for Russian mobster Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich). When word gets to Moscow that one of Pushkin’s lieutenants was murdered, he sends his top man — Teddy (Marton Csokas) — to investigate.
Teddy is every bit as cunning and uncompromising as Robert. It will take all of Robert’s skills as a former intelligence officer to stay ahead of the mobsters and the corrupt cops working with them.
Based on a 1980s television series, “The Equalizer” deals out satisfying but graphically violent vigilante justice. Director Antoine Fuqua launches the film with a slow burn, spending what feels like a good bit of time leading us through Robert’s humdrum life. But when Robert finally gets down to business, the action and tension doesn’t let up.
It may be a familiar story but it’s worth watching for the strong performances by Washington and Csokas. The movie clocks in at a little over two hours but it feels longer. While it seemingly takes forever to get the action started, it also seems like it takes forever for the final action sequence to end.
This film is available in IMAX but I don’t know why. I didn’t notice anything about it that made it worthy of the big, big screen treatment.