The Equalizer review

Antoine Fuqua
Denzel Washington
Marton Csokas
Chloë Grace Moretz
Rated: R

Denzel Washington returns to the action movie genre with “The Equalizer,” a film that wants to be serious at times and not so serious at others.

The story follows a man named Robert, played by Washington, who lives a fairly normal life. He has a simple job at what is a Home Depot rip-off, a nice apartment and a quiet life. Quiet isn’t enough to keep Robert asleep at night and because of his restlessness he often goes to a local diner to read.

It is apparent early on that Robert has a violent and somewhat troubled past he is trying move on from. This life starts to come back when he meets a prostitute named Teri, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, who is in trouble with the Russian mafia.

One thing soon leads to another and after helping Teri out, Robert finds out he’s made some powerful enemies.

The film’s premise was enough to get hopes high, but unfortunately, the film doesn’t live up to expectations. One of the reasons for that is how the story was paced.

First, the movie is more than two hours, when it didn’t need to be. The only reason it ran so long is there were unnecessary sub plots that drag the story away from the main course. More focus could have simplified the movie and given attention to the characterization.

As the plot moves along, it starts to lose its depth and becomes more of a standard action movie, which is its second fault. When it started, “The Equalizer” had an opportunity of capturing on screen a troubled person with a violent past they want to escape from.

Films like “The American” with George Clooney in 2010 or “Drive” with Ryan Gosling from 2011 captured these stories well by being more about the characters. Additionally, the films use stylish filmmaking to capture their mental state and how they think, making it much more of a character study.

“The Equalizer” on the other hand turns into a regular action movie. That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining, as the film still has plenty of good, exciting moments, however, the potential is wasted.

The acting was good in the film, though, and raised the bar, somewhat. Washington is usually always likable in films and this time was no exception. His smooth, calm demeanor was a welcomed trait for the type of former spy he was portraying in this film.

Marton Csokas, who played the main villain of the film, Teddy, also had good moments. He was menacing in a couple of scenes and delivered his lines well. However, I can’t help but feel the filmmakers went a bit overboard making him completely evil, to the point he even sported demon tattoos.

Going back to “Drive” again, it worked much better having a more subtle, but still menacing performance from the mafia boss played by Albert Brooks.

In “The Equalizer, there is one scene where Robert and Teddy have a tense conversation and it was the highlight of the whole movie as both actors showed their strong talents.

In terms of supporting cast, it was hit and miss. Moretz was good for the time she was in the movie, however, her character disappears from the movie after the first act for no good reason.

Another example was Johnny Skourtis who played a person Robert was trying to help become a security guard. The performance from Skourtis was fine, however, his story was unnecessary.

The action in the movie at the very least was entertaining and it definitely earns the film’s R rating. The only problem is that Robert seems almost too invincible and it resulted in a lack of tension.

Overall, “The Equalizer” is an alright action movie. The problem is the potential was there for something much deeper and much better. For what it’s worth, though, the film is still watchable for those looking for an action movie. 3 out of 5

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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