The EqualiZZZzzzer – ★½
I have no issue with dumb films. In fact I’ve taken massive amounts of enjoyment over the last few years from the likes of The Call and Battleship. Unfortunately Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer is too stupid to be enjoyable, too bland to be in any way memorable and too bloody long to even be tolerable.
The film sees Denzel Washington take on the mantle of a former special forces agent (Robert McCall) who is now in search of a new identity and a quiet life working in a big hardware and building supplies store. Unfortunately he’s a sympathetic soul and takes an interest in a the plight of a young prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) who frequents the same late-night local diner as him. After murdering a load of folks including her pimp, a load of other folks come after him, headed up by Marton Csokas (a man you may recognise from standing in betwen Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings films). Can “The Equalizer” survive and continue to protect his community? I’ll give you one guess.
To say the plot is implausible is an understatement. Fuqua and Richard Wenk’s script dish out coincidence and good luck to the point of things barely making any sense. While a film like The Bourne Identity featured an everyman with exceptional powers, it was rooted in a relatable reality that you could at least get behind. Here Denzel’s Robert McCall seems to be able to get out of any scrape, no matter how implausible it is. While seeing him using the tools and supplies in own hardware shop as a tribute to Home Alone is fun (oh look, the little propane tank just blew up the baddie), it feels like the sequence belongs in a very different film.
Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo are in the film for about ninety seconds and Moretz is terribly cast. They, like Denzel, are terrific actors that struggle to bring any life or character to a turgid two hours of cliches and lifeless violence.
There are some fleeting moments and Denzel quirks that will bring a smile but these are few are far between. Avoid at all costs.
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