Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Definitely Denzel material.
The first and only time I saw a trailer to The Equalizer was a few months ago and I remember thinking one thing – it looked more or less very typical for Denzel Washington. Whether or not the story was unique and original, his character from the trailers seemed really reminiscent of some of the other stuff he’s known for. Even so, the movie seemed like a really interesting and fun time – even with the stereotypical role played by Washington. So I finally saw it and I can say that…yeah I was pretty much right from the get go, but hey, I liked it.
So this story revolves around Denzel’s character, Robert – who has a very mysterious past. It seems obvious that his past has something to do with a government agency like the CIA or NSA – but he’s trying to stay retired and live a semi-average if not OCD-centered lifestyle. He gets wind of a Russian crime syndicate when a young prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) gets beaten up for dreaming of independence. Against his better judgment, Robert is thrown back into his old life and vows to take down each arm of the crime syndicate.
This film feels somewhere between Die Hard, Taken, and Home Alone. It doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of originality here, but again…I was more interested in just having fun watching the thing – and for the most part I did. Now, some of you know that this is adapted from a TV series by the same name – and as I’ve mentioned before – it can be true to the original source or betray it completely, as long as it works as a movie on its own I’m good. I don’t know anything about the original show, I don’t know if this gives it any credit, all I know is as a movie on its own – it works, so I’m all good.
My main concern was an assortment of subplots that sort of take things away from the main story. It’s cool that this guy is basically a vigilante hero doing what’s right for all the right reasons – but some of it felt a little random in connection to the overall Russian story. It’s as if these subplots were basically tiny TV episodes from the original series…and I wasn’t digging the deviation from the Russian crime syndicate storyline that was already really expansive for its own good. These things just made the film ultimately feel a lot longer than it should have felt…and that was a distraction.
I wouldn’t consider the acting to be Oscar-worthy, but at the same time, it is Denzel Washington. The guy has some impressive chops for acting – and if it weren’t for him, this film would feel really cheap and be shown semi-regularly on the FX Channel in the middle of the night when no one is actually watching. He transformed it into something really fun to watch in general. I would go to that man’s house just to watch him decorate his Christmas tree because it would no doubt be incredibly intense.
The Equalizer is far from the best film of the year, but it does match the quota for a good time at the movies. There is plenty of action, drama, and rising tension to go around in this flick that will definitely be welcome among the other action thrillers on Denzel Washington’s never-ending filmography.
It tries a little too hard to be something that it’s not. I wouldn’t call it forgettable necessarily, but you would probably rather see other movies if you were given the chance. It’s fun, absolutely, but when it comes to movies and a battle of what’s fun vs. what’s good…good always seems to take the cake.
I honestly think Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson should do a movie together. Right?