The Equalizer, for those old enough to remember, was a hugely popular TV show from the 1980s. The show won a heap of awards and starred the British actor Edward Woodward. Even though the TV show was pretty cool, this movie version brought it right up to date.
Robert McCall is an unassuming guy. He works in a big hardware store and sits quietly reading in his favorite cafe in the evenings. But, you should never judge a book by its cover. With a dark past, he is an ex-Marine and special agent for the American Defense Agency. Not just any agent, McCall is their most potent weapon and a proficient killer. Somehow he has faked his death and seeks to lead a quiet life after promising his late wife that he would change his killing ways. That is until a vulnerable young girl is brutally beaten and McCall decides to help out. But, when the bad guys don't want to do the right thing, death is certain to follow.
The Equalizer is about as violent as you can get. This is a classic vigilante, revenge story but with a modern twist, crafting the violence in similar ways to films like John Wick or Tarantino movies. But, this is significantly more refined, cutting out all of the comic-book excesses and replacing it with a deeply complex but believable character.
Director Antoine Fuqua, does a fantastic job with The Equalizer. There are some amazing camera techniques and within the first few frames of the movie, it's clear that we are in for a treat. The fight scenes are amazing and Fuqua has the character assessing all of the variables in the room, before setting his stopwatch and killing every single person in the room with incredible precision. This really fits with the calm yet obsessively controlled nature of this new take on the Robert McCall character.
The icing on the cake is the casting of Denzel Washington as Robert McCall. These guys have worked together before on Training Day for which Washington received an Oscar. The rest of the cast in The Equalizer ain't too bad either. David Harbour, Bill Pullman, and Chloë Grace Moretz (The Miseducation of Cameron Post) all give strong performances. Melissa Leo is brilliant as Susan Plummer, a former colleague of Robert McCall who knows his past intimately. But, the big surprise comes from the New Zealand actor Marton Csokas. He is amazing playing a specialist Russian killer covered in satanic tattoos. This character is as complex as McCall's and will stop at nothing to finish the job he was sent to do.
All in all, The Equalizer is a great watch for those who like a good action flick. There's a reasonable back story and heaps of fight scenes so it is definitely worth watching.