A remake of a 80s TV series The Equalizer is familiar ground for Denzel Washington. The aging action hero, unlike Liam Neeson, has been saving the world from bad guys since the beginning of his career and his latest collaboration with director Antoine Fuqua is no different.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) works at a hardware store by day and sits and reads in a Hopperesque diner at night. Sticking to a routine is obviously some sort of coping mechanism but when McCall meets prostitute Lena (Chloë Grace Moretz) is tightly wound world begins to unwind, and all it takes is 28 seconds.
McCall decides to help Lena and takes out Lena’s Russian pimp but by doing so he unwittingly gets involved in a massive Russian crime syndicate. Unhappy about his loss of revenue the head of the organisation, Puskin (Vladimir Kulich), sends his enforcer Teddy (Marton Csokas) to kill the unknown troublemaker and soon people are killed, things are blown up and body parts end up where they really shouldn’t.
As the plot slowly lumbers on to a showdown in the hardware store you can’t help but wonder about the invincibility of McCall, could a 59-year-old really be as deadly as Denzel unwaveringly portrays him to be?
And that sums up The Equalizer’s weak spot: it just isn’t believable. While Denzel does cut a good figure as a close to retiring age ex CIA agent, his shirts can’t quite hide his middle-age spread and this doesn’t really convince us that he could highhandedly take down the Russian Mafia.
But the action sequences are entertaining, the showdown shot in a very unique location and Chloë Grace Moretz tugs at your heartstrings as call-girl Lena.
The Equalizer is engaging enough but just can’t quite reach the needed sizzle to make a really good action film. But it is obvious that there is an intention to follow The Equalizer up with a sequel, and who knows maybe the next storyline will be kinder to the aging action hero.