By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Even from early on in his career, Denzel Washington carries a presence on screen that’s unmatched. You never take your eyes off him because you never know what he was going to say or do next. Over the course of The Equalizer Denzel guides us on one heck of a thriller, with the occasional bump here and there.
Based on the television series of the same name, Denzel plays Robert McCall, a man who lives a quiet, structured life in Boston working at a local hardware store. He soon develops a friendship with a Alina (Chloe Grace-Moretz), who was forced into sex trafficking for the Russian mafia at a young age. When McCall discovers that Alina’s been beaten by her pimp and hospitalized, he has no choice but to use his skills from his days as a black ops government operative to try and make things right.
Denzel is dynamite. He hits all the right buttons, quiet when it’s needed and still has the ability to kick your ass. Moretz is captivating when she’s on screen, even with the unfortunately small time she has on it. Director Antoine Fuqua reunites with Washington for the first time since their 2001 Oscar winning collaboration Training Day. Fuqua does a good job in keeping us on the edge of our seat, finding a fair balance of thrilling suspense and action with quieter moments.
While the balance of moments was fair, it definitely wasn’t equal. The pacing throughout the film felt like tug of war; you’re interested one minute, and the next you’re wondering “okay, now when does it pick up again?”
When it does pick up though, it completely blows you out of the water. Compared to other action-thrillers, there isn’t a lot of action, but when there is it’s ten times as brutal. There were even split-second moments where I wanted to cringe at the violence that was happening. The last act has some of the best action-packed thrills this year.
In the end though, the pacing here keeps you more invested in wondering what’s going to happen, rather than the typical blow-em-up movie. Some of the dialogue even gives you goosebumps. It wouldn’t surprise me if this movie was the start of a potential franchise, for I would love to see where McCall could go.
The Equalizer is a solid film. It’s not a dazzling spectacle of effects or the most innovative story out there, but it’s Denzel taking us on one thrill of a ride. What’s not to love?