Review of "The Equalizer (DVD)"

published 11/04/2016 | SirJoseph
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Pro Denzel Washington, Badass, Vengeance Song, Camera Work
Cons Gary Stu, OTT, Hollow Sub-Plots, Length
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"A Hollow 2 Hours of Vigilante Justice"

The Equalizer (DVD)

The Equalizer (DVD)

"The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why." ~ Mark Twain

I'm not old enough to recall...

...The Equalizer television series, afraid it finished a month shy of my birth, but after doing a little research, it definitely sounds in the same vein as this reincarnation. The shady backstory, the gadgetry and the sign off scene, a digital reboot of the "Odds against you? Need help?" newspaper ad. These are the little pieces of fan-service that devout watchers would eat up and sit back in their octogenarian recliners. So why am *I* watching it? I enjoy crime thrillers, remakes or otherwise and the star name of Denzel Washington shouldn't be ignored. I've never taken to any of his films previously but I had an inkling that the guy was a clearly solid actor as they tended to get very positive reviews and the clips I'd sat through demonstrated his skills. Plus this was one of those films I could have seen at the cinema, however my then girlfriend picked A Walk Among the Tombstones instead but that would very much be a like-for-like decision as it's pretty much the same genre (I reviewed it a few days ago). Luckily, I manage to keep up to date with things by getting digital downloads as well as keeping reminders of films that I've either missed or are not available in the local cinemas. As for the case design, clean but ultimately uninspired. That theatrical poster though... Trying too hard to copy Sin City by the looks of it...
"it's about a guy who thinks he's a knight in shining armour. The only thing is, he lives in a world where knights don't exist anymore." (Story)

Mr. Washington is the jack-of-all-trades handyman, conveniently working a fairly work-a-day job in a DIY store where everyone gets on well with him as he's mr. nice with a mysterious history which they all try and guess on occasion - to which he likes to mess with them. When he personally gets involved with a young prostitute with pipe dreams of escaping night walking for singer aspirations. Not that kind of involved - they just share a conversation over coffee and Moby Dick. He witnesses her getting a rough time from a pimp and decides to go after them in order to free her from this Russian trafficked life. When the 'deal' doesn't go down after offering a high 4 digits for her freedom, the Russians turn ugly and he goes to work in gruesome, efficient fashion. With the mobsters taken apart, this attack sends ripples in the seedy underbelly of Boston, where the higher ranking crime lord gets an even more brutal enforcer to find the culprit and dispense payback. The new guy is totally barmy and reckless, taking out some of his own people with his bare hands - sending a message "I'm here." With this madman in search for good ol Denzel, we get to see him doing his regular thing, saving co-workers from near-fatal robberies and even training a chunky guy to getting into a security role. There's bits of heart that mixes with the dark, forcing 'Robert' to get down and dirty in order to preserve the peace, ensuring justice etc.
"Progress. Not Perfection." (Positives)

Something I was very aware of the first time I watched this film was that there were some strong camera angles going on where they were fixed on the reflections in the eyes, beautifully smooth crawling shots that gloss over slow motion footage in a really smooth way. It was these moments that had me glance over my laptop a few times as I multitasked probably writing about something else or taking surveys or just maybe actual work. Whilst I cannot comment on whether it does the television series justice, it's totally watchable for those that are unaware and has an air about it that I believe means it probably does. One song on the soundtrack stands out and it's the big and bold beat that plays out to the final showdown inside the store. It's a tad long (much like the film) but it's a well made song choice, suitably titled 'Vengeance.' Low sinister notes of dread every time something badass happened as Washington struts away in slow motion probably harps back to an 80s style thriller series. He's also the kind of guy that's so badass, he doesn't look at explosions either. Denzel doesn't even need to exert much effort or strength to provide a meaningful appearance as the role doesn't really demand it and he has done a handful of these 'guys who get things done' films we seen released over the last few years - he's the black version of Liam Neeson I guess, only that's a disservice as he has earned fame in his own right, establishing his name equally, if not higher. So yeah, it's more accurate to say that Liam Neeson is the white, older Denzel Washington.
"Problem you're having with me is you still think you matter. You don't. I'm all that matters." (Negatives)

The length is something that bogs this film down a bit. They really didn't need over 2 hours to tell the story as the sub-plots that piece together the leading mans life are heart-warming at first but towards the end they become either totally void of meaning (other than feel-good-cheese-factor) such as Chloë Grace Moretz cameo appearance. It's so long that the film even cuts an entire segment of Washington 'Equalizing' a scumbag who robs the store he works at and merely cuts to the next day of 'everything in its right place' and the cleaning of a hardware store hammer and the same theme lightly playing underneath. The constant swapping back and fourth between pro and antagonists probably extends the film far longer than necessary also and although it is interesting to see more of the bad guys perspective, it's only half the time that it's worth it as he pummels his enemies (and own people) releasing his sadistic side whilst the other half is a lame tattoo cover sofa recliner taking phone calls and being rather dull. The biggest gripe has to be that the main character is invincible from the start - a Gary Stu - he doesn't put a foot wrong and unless you've seen the show and are aware of his blatant military/spy background, you're left to wonder. At no point do you feel like he's in serious danger and whilst that might make this a tea-time cosy movie to feel safe and sound with on a sunday evening, it takes away whatever suspense they were going for with the violent sociopath baddie. It almost played out like a video game (which tends to be a bad thing), similar to the Max Payne franchise only less menacing noir more Gran Torino without the Car.

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Comments on this review

  • jo-1976 published 02/09/2017
    Nicely done
  • DodoRabbit published 24/04/2016
    I'll add this to a list of films that I'll get when they're cheap
  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 13/04/2016
    I'd like to see it.
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Product Information : The Equalizer (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

EAN: 5051159251657

Actor(s) (Last name, First name): Denzel Washington; Chloe Grace Moretz

Director(s) (Last name, First name): Antoine Fuqua

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 18 years and over

Production Year: 2014

Title: E


Listed on Ciao since: 13/11/2014