It was only a few weeks ago that Keanu Reeves’ John Wick made its way to the theaters. A film about an assassin who goes all out against the people who murdered his dog that was incidentally gifted to him by his dying wife, John Wick offered some ballistic action which pleased one and all. Zip forward a week and we have The Equalizer making its way to the theaters. Based on a TV series of the same name, The Equalizer stars Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a mysterious man who has successfully put his past behind him. He has dedicated himself to successfully build an ordinary life for himself until he meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz). Teri is a young prostitute under the control of the ultra-violent Russian mob.
When Teri is smashed by her employers beyond recognition and put in the ICU, Robert must act. He tries to buy her out but when her employers decide otherwise, he shows his skills at swift cleanup and literally takes down a hub of the Mafia single handedly. The mob dispatches their own guy Teddy (Marton Csokas), an ex-Spetnaz operative to find Robert but he proves to be a tough man to find. Soon Robert realizes that unless he goes all the way up to the source and clean up the whole gang, neither he nor anyone he cares about will ever be safe. What happens next forms the crux of the narrative for this film.
The Equalizer takes a good 20-25 minutes build up before the action starts. The idea is to emphasize on Robert’s unwillingness to walk out of the promise that he made to have a normal life. However things get bad pretty quick and he is left with no option but to use his skills to his advantage and the utter disadvantage of his enemies. The action here is brutal and graphic. There is no particular beauty to it. It is more of the characteristic old school stuff with loads of severed throats and oozing wounds. The action choreography is fantastic and the well shot explosions in addition to the bloodshed we have already talked about only add to the charm of the violence. The film offers enough drama between the spates of actions keeping you engrossed. May be with someone else in the lead, the drama could have fallen apart but with Washington in his characteristically suave and captivating performance, the drama becomes just as eye-candy as the action.
However the problem remains with the fact that the film doesn’t have much to offer in terms of content. The script is featherweight at best and there aren’t an awful lot of twists and turns. Even Robert’s background isn’t dug up the way you would have liked it to be. Odd references to his past are our only keys to understanding him. We know exactly where story is headed and it goes there. This is just your old school action with two equally interesting men namely Washington and Marton Csokas matching wits to see who ends up with the last laugh.
Marton Csokas has played the baddie before and he does a great job. He may not have brought about a whole lot of change to his previous characters but he does well enough to stand in his own in front of the towering Denzel. Chloë Grace Moretz in a brief essay looks the part. She looks like a girl who could make a man do what Robert does for her. She is practically the catalyst which sets off the events of the film. This film ends up being satisfying primarily because of the Denzel effect. Antoine Fuqua knows how to use him the best and he does so again with great results. Interestingly enough, Denzel holds his own in the action sequences even at an age when many of his compatriots have taken up playing father figures.
Going by the way this film ends, the producers are looking set for a few more in this series. That’s a good thing for me. The Equalizer is more in keeping with the Bourne series than The Bond films. It has its inclination towards Denzel’s earlier film “Man On Fire”, but steers clear of it towards the end. If you love Denzel and can stomach bloodshed, this can be your watch of the week.