The Equalizer (2014) – Denzel Washington

MARTIAL ARTS value ⭐⭐⭐⭐
ACTION value ⭐⭐⭐⭐
PLOT value ⭐⭐⭐
CAST value ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Continuing the vibe of The Book Of Eli (2010) where Denzel plays an expert assassin with a good heart, here we see him do much the same thing but with a more simple & standard plot.

The Equalizer (2014) masterfully sets the mood with the help of Hollywood’s best sound effects and camerawork, as well as actors in Denzel and his main adversary played by Marton Csokas – they both do an outstanding job to match the unseen crew.

Further supporting actors generally do a good job too, including Chloë Grace Moretz who plays the main victim Denzel’s character attempts to rescue; Melissa Leo who plays a politically connected senior member of the CIA (who Denzel’s character turns to for information on his adversary); David Harbour who plays a bent cop; and David Meunier who plays the local Russian mafia boss – these actors all do a pretty good job.

The action is mostly fluid and of a high standard although there are some slower drama scenes and there are some uncomfortable gritty patches. The ending is especially overly drawn out, from a frequent rewatcher’s perspective. This issue, combined with the simplistic plot, and the impression of great values being taught on the big screen when really we’re only seeing a watered down and twisted version of what they should be, mean The Equalizer is only half the masterpiece it could have been, from a smooth action hero movie junkie’s perspective. It really could have been as good as The Foreigner (starring Jackie Chan) or better, but it’s definitely not, due to these issues. Instead, I rank it on a par with The Transporter (starring Jason Statham), which has similar style, a similarly strong cast, a similar simplicity of concept, and is similarly let down by an over drawn out weak ending, although in The Equalizer’s case, the fairly dull long scene near the end is followed by a few strong short scenes at the very end, to lift the mood.

The Equalizer is quite a classic, and is one of Denzel’s best performances, so it’s good to see a couple of strong sequels were made, just like The Transporter had.