Starring Denzel Washington and Martin Csokas
For the first twenty or thirty minutes of THE EQUALIZER, nothing really happens. Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, or Bob to his friends. Bob works at a home renovation store, helps coworkers with their diets and spends his nights reading the classics at a diner because he can’t sleep. There is nothing particularly special about him but there obviously has to be something about him, otherwise, why would we be watching this movie? Well, this is a question that I unfortunately was never able to get to the bottom of, and after watching this joke of a film, it is also a question I wish I had never had to ask myself.
For no discernible reason other than human decency, he decides one day to take on a group of Russian gangsters who are pimping out and beating up young girls, one of which (Chloe Grace Moretz) frequented the diner he reads at. The Russians don’t buy into his offer to buy the girl back from him so he kills them all. This normal, somewhat elderly gentleman scans the room as if he is part terminator and takes down the five or six guys that are there without any difficulty whatsoever. Who is this Bob fellow? How is he so amazing at killing people? And so creative at it too! (That corkscrew through the guy’s chin? Such creative flair, Bob!) We only find out much later in this very long film what makes Bob such a formidable killing machine so until then, we are just left wondering and thinking how completely implausible this all is. With that many people in the room, how did not one of them react fast enough to shoot Bob in the head? Did these people just join the mob yesterday? Anyway, Bob didn’t realize these guys were connected to the real Russian mob and when he finds this out, he decides that he singlehandedly has to take them down so that he can live happily ever after in peace.
THE EQUALIZER is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who once directed Washington all the way to a Best Actor Oscar for TRAINING DAY. Their latest pairing is all kinds of wrong. This is not a Denzel Washington movie; this is a Liam Neeson action movie. We already have an old guy who is inexplicably trained for any given combat situation and who can take down dozens of strong men with guns without once getting hit by any of the countless bullets shot his way. Even Fuqua doesn’t seem to believe audiences will fully buy into Washington’s abilities, as much of the action often takes place off screen. How did Bob manage to get an entire factory of mob men to put down their weapons and tie themselves up to wait for the police to arrive? He just did, is all the explanation you need, as you can plainly see the end result but not what got him there. This trickery is repeated often in the film but my favourite usage is when Bob blows up a giant tanker without showing us how he does it. All he has to do is walk away while it explodes spectacularly behind him. Pretty impressive for an old guy. Totally unbelievable and often laughable too but that was clearly never a consideration here.
How many sheep would you give The Equalizer?