Sunday, December 28, 2014
Video review: "The Equalizer"
“The Equalizer” falls into that category of films that I call, “I’m not really sure they needed to make that, but the movie they did make isn’t bad at all.”
Like the recent Spider-Man reboot, remaking a cheesy 1980s TV show about an over-the-hill spy who helps everyday people doesn’t seem like a very intuitive move. But Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, who previously teamed up successfully on “Training Day,” manage to create an engaging story and character that use the show as a mere jumping-off point.
Robert McCall (Washington) is an older man who works a drone job at a big-box store, keeps his apartment compulsively clean, reads books and visits the same diner at 2 a.m. every day. He can also kill you in two seconds with his bare hands, if he’s so inclined.
Because he’s an old, somewhat schlumpy guy, his opponents don’t even see him as a threat. A couple of jump cuts later, and suddenly they’re lying on the ground, oozing blood.
After a young prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) he’s befriended is treated shabbily by her Russian pimp, Robert steps in to help out. He easily dispatches an entire roomful of hoods, thus setting off a chain reaction of ever-escalating violence. Soon a sadistic fixer from the motherland is dispatched to take of things personally.
“The Equalizer” is basically a dumb movie, smartly made. It won’t win any awards for originality, but Denzel Washington is still really good at playing a badass.
Bonus features are rather decent, though you have to spring for the Blu-ray edition to get the best stuff. The DVD only has two featurettes: one focuses on the climactic showdown at the fictional Home Mart, and the other is about Moretz’ character.
The Blu-ray adds a gallery of production still photos, and four more featurettes. They focus on stunts, Washington’s combat training for the role, Fuqua’s vision and adapting an old TV show into a modern action movie. There’s also a “Vengeance Mode” featuring some of the nastiest fight clips.