Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington re-team for the first time since Training Day for The Equalizer. Last time these two cross paths, Denzel grabbed an Oscar and delivered a career-best performance that is still remembered today. Now, the two have shaken up the revenge genre with The Equalizer — a film that’s absolutely bad ass in every single way. There’s just no other way to say it. Fuqua and Washington together make an ultra-violent revenger that holds back nothing and gives up everything. The Equalizer is two hours of solid action, filmed with cold calculation and led by an actor with an endless amount of on-screen ass-kicking skill.
A man (Denzel Washington) has decided to put his deadly past in the rear view, focusing now on the quiet everyday life that most middle-classed Americans have rested into. He clocks in his 40 hours a week and spends most of his free-time alone, reading books at the local 24/7 diner. This all changes once he gets close to a young girl that’s being forced to work for the Russian mob. Now, he must do whatever it takes to make things right and ensure justice is served.
The Equalizer is two hours of Denzel Washington being a complete bad ass in ultimate style, thanks to Antoine Fuqua‘s take-no-prisoners direction. Too often revenge flicks get bloated down with unnecessary plot or characters. The Equalizer doesn’t suffer from that problem at all. It’s very lean and properly trimmed, making for an ultra-violent action film with no bullshit and lots and lots of bloodshed.
Only a director as skilled as Fuqua could pull such a feat off. He proved it with the now-classic Training Day and even last year’s best action flick — Olympus Has Fallen and now he does it again, only with a much more seasoned veteran, Denzel Washington.
Those that think Washington is simply phoning it in should take a few steps back, in order for him to jam a shot glass into your throat, because Washington’s portrayal of Robert McCall is that of a quiet, cold and very calculated killer with a conscience. Only a man as immensely talented as Denzel could revisit a similar character and shed a completely new light on him. His role in The Equalizer isn’t exactly like anything he’s ever played before. McCall isn’t emotionless, but he’s definitely fearless and impossible to corrupt, which always keeps him twenty steps ahead of everyone and gives him a certain amount of strength and valor.
Antoine Fuqua‘s direction keeps the plot tight and meaningful, while heightening the action. Rarely do revenge films have such clear-cut, yet exciting action sequences that focus on the unstoppable nature of the leading man and rarely on all of the genres typical stereotypes. It’s refreshing watching Fuqua keep Denzel coming with full force, rarely slowing down or revealing too much weakness, because sometimes a bad ass doesn’t need to have a weakness exposed in order to be tested or made into a better man.
Blood is poured by the buckets and necks are snapped left and right, making The Equalizer one of the best damn action films of the year and one of the most entertaining outings at the theater so far. Most are going to be surprised with just how much fun the film is and how much better it is made by Fuqua and Washington’s involvement. Any other director would have squandered the talent and watered down the intensity, while Fuqua only increases and increases until Washington’s character takes out an entire mob.
And Denzel continues to impress as a bankable action star with an eye for being a complete bad ass. He makes it look easy and not once does he get lazy or set himself on autopilot. The Equalizer is Denzel proving yet again why he’s starred in so many great films over the years and it’s also an indication that he’s not stopping anytime soon.
Rarely do I wish for a sequel so quickly, but I’d honestly be glad if Sony got Fuqua and Washington back for another go, because at this rate I’d watch the two make just about anything. The Equalizer is a film that works just fine on its own, but could also be expanded upon and made into a bankable franchise if not a single thing is changed in terms of how the violence, action and plot are concerned. The film is a perfect example of less is more, oftentimes becoming the most successful during the film’s simple, yet effective moments.
Those looking for that rare R-rated action film with a complete set of uncompromising balls will want to give The Equalizer a viewing or two, because watching Denzel kill Russian mafia thugs with a wide array of Home Depot tools and even one with a paperback novel brings endless amounts of joy to the brain. You’ll be grinning the entire time, without ever having to shut off your brain, all thanks to Fuqua’s compact, yet explosive direction and Denzel’s ability to pump so much energy into such a mysteriously dark character.
The Equalizer – 8.5/10