My first question about The Equalizer after seeing the trailer was, “Why even bother calling it The Equalizer?”
After all, it’s not as if The Equalizer—a 1980s CBS detective drama starring Edward Woodward as a Good Samaritan retired intelligence agent—was a brand that still lured audiences. Antoine Fuqua’s violent action movie with Denzel Washington exists in an entirely different universe, the brutal and vengeful cinematic neighborhood of Charles Bronson, Liam Neeson, and Washington himself. Call it The Equalizer or call it Man on Fire 2—this is a Denzel action film, first and last.
The film doesn’t borrow much from the television show, though Washington does play a haunted retired intel agent by the name of Robert McCall. He works at a Boston-area Home Depot-like store, lives modestly in solitude, rides public transportation, and reads classic novels while hanging out at the local 24-hour diner. But when he befriends a diner companion, a neighborhood hooker (Chloë Grace Moretz) who is roughed up by her Russian-mob bosses, he can’t help but put his skills to use. His Russian equivalent (Marton Csokas) is quickly dispatched to Boston to solve the mob’s problem, and from there on, it’s R-rated clobberin’ time.
Washington and Fuqua, who collaborated on Training Day, which won the actor an Oscar, are aiming a little lower this time. “As the ex-CIA operative Bob, now demoted to cutting wood at a Home Mart, Washington can’t suppress his natural gravitas even though the role is meant for a dweebier actor,” writes EW’s Joe McGovern, in his review.
Read more from EW’s review, as well as a roundup of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY