Not particularly a movie I was planning to go out of my way to see but when the opportunity presented itself, I took it. I fear walking into a movie like The Equalizer all because of the movie Taken. When Taken first came out, I was not prepared for the greatness that would ensue following the opening credits. Taken, much like the Equalizer, was a movie I happened to stumble into because, what else is really out right now? Since I will always hold any performance from Liam Neeson up to that of Bryan Mills from Taken, I decided to skip seeing A Walk Among the Tombstones and give Denzel a chance this weekend. And I have to say, I wasn’t let down.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a militant loner with the heart of gold who works at the movie’s version of a Home Depot. McCall, when not helping others, often enjoys his own tea and a book at a local diner. It is there that he meets a young Russian girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters. Though you do not know McCall’s past, he cannot stand idly by and see this young girl’s life ruined by these men, and he later reveals that he is not just some average Joe department store clerk.
It is hard to not compare this film to Taken because of the ages of each protagonist. Denzel is only 2 years behind Neeson and plays a seemingly normal guy with a secret bad ass level of training. No, the Equalizer did not — in my opinion — trump Taken as a better movie but I do feel that Denzel’s character, Robert McCall, is way ahead of Neeson’s character, Bryan Mills. If Tak3n was about Robert McCall having to track down Bryan Mills, unfortunately I feel as if McCall would win that war.
If you walk out of this theater saying to yourself, “That could never happen…” well then you’re just as terrible as vegetables on a pizza. Yes, this film transcends the boundaries of reality but that’s exactly what the movie is for, entertainment. From the trailer, I assumed Antoine Fuqua’s film centered around the after hours gun fight in Home Depot but that was not the case, it was surprisingly way more in depth. The Home Depot scene does happen and Denzel runs around like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone setting up death traps for the intruders. Home Depot Alone, Home Alone: Depot — it sounded funnier in my head. His first victim in that scene is a Russian cronie played by Dan Bilzerian. There was something about watching Bilzerian suffer that was a sigh of relief. Not because I hate him — he is the man — but I’m rightfully and extremely jealous of his life as should any man be.
The movie has an extremely slow start but at about 25 minutes to a half hour, you get your first taste of how bad ass McCall is. From there, sit back and enjoy the ride. McCall’s adversary is a Russian named Teddy (Marton Csokas) who looks like a tat’d up version of Kevin Spacey. The whole movie, you await to find out about Robert McCall’s past and when you finally figure out his past during a meeting with Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman), it does not disappoint.
I am a huge fan of Denzel Washington, how could you not be? However, I find it hilarious that Denzel Washington plays a different version of Denzel Washington in every movie. As if he is paid by the emotion in each role. When Denzel auditions for a movie, I assume it goes something like this:
Casting Director: “Hey Denzel, we’re going to need about 3 emotions from you in this film.”
Denzel: “Will there be any fighting?”
Casting Director: “Yes, there will be fight scenes.”
Denzel: “Will I have to use any emotions or exert any effort doing these fight scenes?”
Casting Director: “You may have to jog around a corner and then we can just use camera tricks to portray distance traveled but other than that, just some stone cold Denzel.”
Denzel: “Will there be a monologue where I talk very Denzel-like and displaying facial features and voice inflictions indicating a friendly conversation but then end with a very stern semi-threat?”
Casting Director: “Multiple…”
If you’re thinking about stepping out to see a flick this weekend, The Equalizer does not disappoint.
By: Pat Hanavan