When it comes to action packed thrillers with a super serious tone, if Denzel Washington isn’t involved, it’s usually a Liam Neeson film, but this time around Washington is back as a revitalised Creasy from Man on Fire in the violent, entertaining yet sturdy thriller, The Equalizer.
Going down the route of a typical US crime convention with the Russians yet again cast as the villain’s, Washington plays the character of Robert McCall who comes across as this mysterious man who apparently leads a normal life working in the American equivalent to B&Q or Homebase until his weird OCD-ish behaviours are displayed during his nightly trips to the café and the notion that he only owns one plate, one cup and one set of cutlery. It’s such a plain, independent life he leads. As a man of mystery, he totally understands and takes pride in the word “justice”, and that’s exactly what he demonstrates. Chloe Grace Moretz plays a young hooker/wannabe singer who is caught up with this very violent group of Russian Gangsters who are running their own escort company. Quite like Man on Fire, Washington becomes the guardian angel/father figure/modern-day superhero and takes a huge step into the situation to try to get Teri (Moretz) out of it.
Teaming up again with Antoine Fuqua after their Oscar-winning spell on Training Day, as per usual, Washington takes on this role just as seriously as his past Oscar-winning performances and is able to keep the cinema screens packed on his own without packing the film with a bunch of action stars and super well-known names. Washington knows how to hold his spot on the big screen and shouldn’t feel threatened by all the newcomers trying their hand at serious acting.
When onscreen together, Teri and McCall have great chemistry between them, quite like a lost father trying to rekindle his relationship with his daughter. Keeping that in mind, they don’t have many scenes together but when they do, it’s nice and refreshing and makes you feel like you want to help her out and try to get into the deep and dark mind of McCall.
The main highlight of the film has to be the intelligent ways Washington is able to use everyday hardware in the store as brutal weapons, for example the way he uses a nail gun and a drill is pure genius that will get you giggling yet thinking about how painful it would actually be. Also for the fact that McCall jokes around with his younger colleagues about being one of the Pips who worked with Gladys Knight back in the day and even gives us a little preview of his old school dance moves (Washington still has it at 59 going on 60).
All around, The Equalizer is the proper example that old school actors still have a firm place in Hollywood and Washington is leading the pack. It’s very entertaining, very brutal and the moral of the story is to never underestimate your father when he knows his way around the hardware store.