Director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington are on a roll. Fuqua, having directed Washington in Training Day, reunite for The Equalizer. They should continue working together as their collaboration yielded an Oscar win for Washington the first time. This time there isn’t an Oscar nomination, but simply an enjoyable action movie that is just fun to watch.
The Equalizer is based on a television series from the 1980’s. The back story for both television series and movie are that Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a retired intelligence operative who is leading a quiet life. In the movie, he works at Home Depot, and keeps to himself. He is a widower, with a sadness in his eyes, as he goes from his job to home. His home is immaculate and he exhibits OCD tendencies, wanting everything a specific way and in a specific order.
The movie follows a standard formula. McCall befriends a teenage call girl, who works for the Russian Mob. As they become friends, McCall begins help her see the possibility of a good future. This is when things go off the rails and the Russian bad guys need to be take out.
This is also when McCall’s OCD comes into play. He has to time everything to the second. And he uses his watch as the timer. He dispatches a team of bad guys with relative ease, and then looks to his watch to confirm the time it took to complete the task.
Director Fuqua really does a great job highlighting his actors and the action beats in the film. When McCall is on the move, you can really see him thinking and moving at the same time. This isn’t a bull rushing into a china shop, but a man with thought and compact actions. Very similar to Jason Bourne and a very novel approach.
There is no real surprise to the Equalizer. Just a really good amount of violence, action, and blood. It is definitely a popcorn movie. But don’t dismiss it. It is a really good watch and provides an enjoyable movie viewing experience.
3 stars – a Hitting a Mark recommendation.