The Equalizer (2014)


I’d like to take a minute to talk about my overall experience with this film. The screening was in IMAX and so I assumed that the screen was going to bigger, as I’ve seen many films in IMAX and the sheer size of the screen is always captivating. The thing is, almost all IMAX screens are LIE-MAX, as they’re not truly as big as they could be. So, to my surprise, I got to see this film on what’s got to be the biggest screen I’ve ever seen and it was glorious. I mean, this screen went from floor to ceiling in a room close to two stories. Perhaps the best thing was that I got to see the second¬†Interstellar¬†trailer on this massive screen and with surround sound. I didn’t cry… much…

Bob and Teri go for a walk-and-talk.

Bob and Teri go for a walk-and-talk.

A man of time precision and general goodwill, Bob (Denzel Washington) plans his days out perfectly and is always there to help a friend. He lives a rather repetitive life. He works all day at Home Mart, where he aids his coworker Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis) in his quest to become a security guard. The, Bob goes home to eat and eventually winds up reading at a 24/7 diner, which is frequented by the young Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz). Teri is a very young Russian prostitute, working for some very dangerous people. Bob knows her, but it’s not until she really gets hurt by a client that Bob begins to act differently. Something about his past is resurfacing and it’s not good for anyone who crosses him.

After tracking down the men who hurt Teri, Bob gives them a chance to let her go and be done with him. Of course, Russian mobster Slavi (David Meunier) and his goons decline and before they can land a single hit or shot, Bob takes them out in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately for Bob, these men work for even more powerful, dangerous men that won’t rest until someone is killed for interfering in the East Coast Russian mafias business. A man named Teddy (Martin Csokas) steps into the picture and will stop at nothing to find Bob, who becomes more entangled as he goes after the shady men. They may have the numbers, but Bob has a background that makes him a legitimate threat.

You don't mess with Bob.

You don’t mess with Bob.

The Equalizer is essentially an over-the-top action thriller that’s guilty of falling into every genre pitfall that comes with the territory. There’s no reinventing of the wheel, but that isn’t entirely a bad thing. This film is a mixed-bag that goes from little to big in a matter of minutes, until everything gets insanely out-of-hand and makes absolutely no sense. I don’t know what to think of this director’s work, as he started off strong in his career and now it seems as if he’s more focused on pleasing the audience with outrageous violence and bizarre stories. The Equalizer is certainly concerned with both of those aspects, with very little more to offer.

Denzel Washington is a huge plus for this film. Reuniting with his Training Day director adds a sense of familiarity while he’s on screen and he’s calm as can be. Still, Denzel can turn on the violence when he needs to and he does so quite spectacularly. His meticulous methods make him frightening to watch, as he calculates out every move he’ll make and how long it’ll take him to make them. His homemade approach to killing enemies without guns is aplaud worthy, especially as he makes great use of the supplies at The Home Depot (or Home Mart). He has a cool, intelligent demeanor and there’s much more to this man than he leads on.

Bob and Teddy have an intense dinner.

Bob and Teddy have an intense dinner.

I was a really big fan of all the action in this film, especially because I witnessed it in IMAX. Every gunshot, knife slice, neck break, and explosion is carefully displayed with a trail of blood splatter to follow. It’s all really awesome to watch happen and some killings may leave your jaw dropping. I was surprised at how much fun I had watching Denzel find new, creative ways to kill his enemies. Nothing is left to the imagination, as this film makes sure that you never take your eyes off of the screen. I lost count of the deaths in this film after 20, which isn’t a bad thing because I got so wrapped up in how great everything was looking onscreen. If you’re an action fan, you’ll be more than giddy during this film.

Now, I mentioned that there is a level of absurdity that’s plagued director Antoine Fuqua‘s latest work and Olympus Has Fallen is a perfect example of a ridiculous film with an even more ridiculous premise. Here, Denzel starts by innocently killing the Russians that hurt his young prostitute friend. Oh, then he starts going after the East Coast mob. Let’s not forget him going after the head honchos in Russia. WHAT?! I get he has the skills necessary, but this guy goes from a hero to a savage Russian headhunter in a span of two-hours! Why does he feel the need to kill everyone and get so involved in everything?! It made no sense and it was all so forced that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at many of this film’s scenarios.



More than Denzel essentially pulling a Liam Neeson when he kills everyone in France in Taken, there are so many tired tropes in this film and they’re rather obnoxious. Of course the Russians are behind everything and there’s not one good Russian. They’re all vile, pigs-of-men that view women and money as equals and they have no problem killing people over nothing. Don’t forget that young prostitute that befriends the quiet man, only wishing she could change her life. Of course she’s the only one that can bring a man back to what he once was and you almost know that she’ll turn out alright. There’s never any doubt about what’s going to happen in this film and there are so many things that occur that are logistically impossible (I’m looking at you, Denzel slow-mo walking away from an explosion that would totally kill him).

The Equalizer isn’t a success by any means, but it’s definitely entertaining enough to satisfy the needs of moviegoers everywhere. Denzel is draw enough for this film and him killing literally everyone is pretty incredible. You’ll be surprised at how likable his strange character is, with all his words of wisdom and preaching of doing the right thing. Chloe-Grace Moretz finds herself in a throwaway role that’s just as forgettable as this film’s premise, but at least Marton Csokas has a wonderful time playing a frightening Russian villain. This film is beyond stupid, but maybe that’s what made it quite enjoyable?

The Equalizer Trailer

3.5 STARS!!!

3.5 / 5 stars     

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