Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

The Equalizer – 2014

hr_The_Equalizer_11As far as ‘coolness’ is concerned, few can trump the one and only Denzel Washington. Not only is this man the epitome of slick, badass and all-round awesome, he’s a sensational actor who delivers flawless performances everyday of the week and twice on sundays.
Although he’s fallen victim to the odd ‘Neeson-esque’ action picture, he still has a presence about him that makes the film somewhat enjoyable.
His latest is a prime example. From the same director as “Training Day” (also starring Denzel), “The Equalizer” combines elements from numerous films as well as adding almost every cliche convention imaginable into a mixing pot of violence, impossibility and brainlessness.
Basically, the trailer paves the way for what is delivered in the film completely.

Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer” is about Robert McCall, your everyday hardware store employee, widower and meticulous literature enthusiast who just so happens to posses a particular set of skills, skills that make life hard for…. sorry – Basically he is Liam Neeson from…well, every Liam Neeson film as of late!
After a befriended ‘butterfly of the night’ named Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) is revealed to have a connection to an angry Russian mafia, Robert is obliged to resurface his hidden past and take down these angry, villainous Ruskis one by one.

the-equalizer-photos-7There is a primary antagonist, but he’s not actually the top dog as far as status is concerned. Teddy, played by Marton Csokas is a man who is hellbent on finding Robert after a group is taken down single handedly by damaging, destructive Denzel. He has a look about him that is Bond-esque and would no doubt suit the role of a 007 nemesis. Teddy works for a head honcho Vladimir (of course his name is Vladimir…)
Subtlety aside, Vladimir Pushkin, is an incredible disappointment in the greater scheme of things, and it’s only until he finally makes an appearance that the audience understand why.

I was not expecting anything masterful or profound going into “The Equalizer”. This is a film that you watch with your mates over some beers and chit-chat throughout.
The film is actually quite a nice looking one in terms of shot composition and effects. There is an absolute overuse of the ECU shot (extreme close up), but then again, we can all sleep soundly at night knowing what the minuscule constructs of Denzel Washington’s eyeball look like – the mystery is solved!

denzel-equalizer-busted-handThe action sequences are rather good, but in the drawn out final act, the film takes a really strange turn, transforming into a graphic version of “Home Alone”. Intricate traps and assemblages of hardware gear dominate the final showdown, and it makes one wonder how Robert is able to firstly construct these devices let alone construct them silently whilst an angry Russian mob is on his tale.
That being said, this film can’t be scrutinised too much, it understands the ridiculousness completely; just don’t overthink things.

Denzel is at his usual game, maybe a little more disappointing than impressive, but ultimately he delivers satisfactorily. This man is seriously talented, particularly when it comes to stealing the show. He knows when something is meant to be funny, sad, action-packed or even just excellent – you can always count on Denzel.


I felt Teri’s character input was underwhelming, particularly when it came to screen time. The opening acts are far too long to begin with, and the development of Teri is lacking quite a lot. She’s not seen for half of the film and there comes a stage where you simply forget about her completely. That was disappointing as far as story is concerned.
Her relationship with Robert is also slightly reminiscent to Travis and Iris from “Taxi Driver”, another film “The Equalizer” has channeled.

Overall, this is an experience not unlike anything else. It doesn’t offer anything new; Russians are once again all angry, gun-happy psychopaths, Denzel kicks multiple butts and the final showdown is drawn out with dumb, unrealistic action techniques that are entertainingly choreographed.
This isn’t a film I’d personally recommend, but it’s also one that I wouldn’t classify as a ‘bad’ film. You know what to expect.
If you expected “The Equalizer” to be about Denzel’s particular set of mathematical skills, you’ll be disappointed; but you never know, there could be a sequel…



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