#MixxReview: The Equalizer

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It has been 13 years since Alonzo Harris’s body was riddled with dozens of bullets from the automatic weapons of Russian mob members for his failure to pay off his debt accrued during a wild weekend in Las Vegas in the award winning film Training Day. Director Antoine Fuqua finally gives Denzel Washington a chance to avenge his own death in their latest project together called, The Equalizer. While this is obviously not the plot, one thing you can expect from this film is a lot of Russians dying. In fact, The Equalizer is the big screen adaptation of the 1980s television series which starred Edward Woodard.

Denzel plays the lead role of Robert McCall, an ex-intelligence agent who fakes his own death to live a quiet life working at a home improvement retailer in Boston, Massachusetts. McCall is mysterious and meticulous, apparently suffering from OCD and insomnia as his daily routine involves timing himself doing various everyday activities and going to the same diner every night to read books and drink tea.

It is at this diner that McCall interacts with Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage prostitute who wishes to escape her current situation to become a singer. McCall’s compassion and desire to right wrongs and defend the weak and vulnerable lead him to return to his old habits and to seek revenge against the pimp of Teri who gradually beats her up so bad that she is hospitalized.

McCall easily dismantles the local Russian mob bosses which leads to the deployment of a cleanup-esque Russian henchman named Teddy (Marton Csokas). The rest of the movie plays out very predictably as these two very skilled killers search for one another in an attempt to finish the job they started.

This genre of film where one man takes out an entire army by possessing other-worldly combat abilities is beyond played out. The script for this film is also a little bit too polished as Robert McCall is never in any real danger despite fighting against impossible odds. But Denzel Washington’s star power is undeniable. He’s a smooth assassin moving through scenes with tranquility.

Despite this films predictability and the fact that it is a retread doesn’t keep it from doing what it is supposed to do. One thing I really appreciated was the build up of character and plot before overwhelming the viewer with action. This is a tactic that most good action films employ. There was no rush to blow things up or spill blood everywhere. It could’ve been more meaningful but Denzel is Denzel and good action is good action.

In theaters now.

Star rating: 3/5 stars

MPAA rating: R (strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references)

Running time: 2 hr. 11 min

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