By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)


Denzel re-teaming with the man that made the film that won him his second Academy Award was great news for me. Antoine Fuqua has made some entertaining films in his career such as Brooklyn’s Finest and Olympus has Fallen, but it’s Training Day that everybody remembers him for and it created an iconic character for Washington. So could the duo re-create the magic they had over ten years ago?

Based upon popular T.V 80s program of the same name, the story sees a mysterious man named Robert McCall. The audience has no idea of who he is or where he’s come from. In the opening scene we see that he’s just a man with a book and an under-aged prostitute named Teri played by Chloe Grace Moretz for company. We see him give some advice to her which is welcome as they have a certain bond. Robert played by Washington works a full time job at Home Mart and tries to help out one of the colleagues to win a security job. These instances become the norm for the film as Robert is a man who will help anyone who asks.

After Teri, whose real name is Alina is badly beaten and put into hospital, Robert goes to see the man who did it. He’s not alone however, so it looks like Robert could regret making his journey. 28 seconds later, we find out that Robert is a well-trained killer and murders the man and his friends. Now a Russian man is sent to find Robert and possibly kill him.

The main positive of this story is the lead. Washington plays a stone cold killer brilliantly and radiates the screen. The script allows the viewer to see Robert’s character so well, but not his personality which is the smartest move. It keeps the mystery intact and makes me want to see the Mr. McCall story of how he became this man. He looks as though he’s been through a lot and has lost a lot, but you don’t find out until half way into the film. When you do find out, you want to hear more as you feel you don’t know anything really about the man.

The main problems for me with The Equalizer are the story and the direction. For one, the film has quite a few sub-plots which can sometimes distract from the main focus and once again we see a film that depicts Russians as evil and cops as dirty. The story has been done quite a bit before so it doesn’t feel fresh. I wanted something different as the trailer I saw a few month ago didn’t highlight the plot so I didn’t really know what was going to happen. The story for me became very clichéd and the director couldn’t deviate away from this.

Fuqua in my opinion took too many elements from previous action thrillers and crammed them into this. Slowing down the action so that the lead can assess the situation he’s in is a great thing to show, but that’s also been done before. The way film was shot made me feel like Fuqua just wanted to make a film that could just entertain instead of doing it in his own way. I feel that he could have made this film in a very different way and cut a lot of things out. It’s been four years since Will Ferrell’s character in The Other Guys called ‘bullshit’ on when the lead walks away from huge explosions without at least flinching, however The Equalizer has this moment and it was stupid I thought. Unless you are have no hearing or have no sense of touch, it is near impossible to do that action.

There are a few supporting characters within the story who shine, but most are put aside. Moretz’s character was the center piece, but when the film progresses she is sidelined. This couldn’t hurt her as she is an actress who needs to keep on building herself so taking a good supportive role here or there is a smart move I think.

My score for the film is 69%. Lowest mark for direction, highest for entertainment. It is good fun and Washington excels in making himself look unbelievably cool in the action scenes as well as acting strongly. He received special combat training and it’s obvious. He looked like he knew exactly what he was doing and carried the film best he could. The disappointment comes in how the film was pieced together as some of the action was choppily edited and the plot became quite predictable. “When you wish for rain, you’ve gotta deal with the mud.”

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