The Equalizer

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I vaguely remembered The Equalizer as a TV series from the ‘80s, but couldn’t recall if it was the one with the talking car, or with the guy that was going to play James Bond. It’s all a blur. I do know that every second of watching this formulaic piece of garbage was torture. And I don’t want to hear all these critics rave that Denzel Washington is 60 and can still play a tough guy. Seriously, who cares? They use stunt doubles, and I’m guessing in real life he wouldn’t be so good at shooting a nail gun into a Russian bad guy at a Home Depot (oh, spoiler alert). If Hollywood is going to continue to make such derivative action pictures, here’s an idea. They did Predator vs. Alien and Jason vs. Freddie. Let’s see Liam vs. Denzel – the two 60-year-old Oscar nominees with those special set of skills that most AARPers wish they had.

Antoine Fuqua is the perfect man to direct this. He’s done horrible films like Brooklyn’s Finest and Olympus Has Fallen (he brought the talented Melissa Leo over for this). He also did the most overrated Denzel Washington movie ever – Training Day (which oddly enough, scored Washington an Oscar win).

Washington plays a guy named Robert, who works at Home Mart. The women make comments about how sexy he is when he goes into the break-room. The young employees like to call him grandpa, and ask what he did in his previous life. It’s all a big mystery, and for the first boring 20 minutes, we’re waiting for things to get started.

We realize he must’ve been a badass tough guy (because we saw the trailers for the movie and, well…it’s Denzel). We also realize he must be smart, because in movies, they show this by giving you a pair of glasses, or having you read classic novels in a greasy spoon at 2 a.m. That’s where he befriends a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz). Unfortunately for her, she didn’t bring the badass skills she possessed in Kick-Ass, which means she gets her a** kicked by the Russian pimps that are using her. This doesn’t sit well with Bob. You see, he was just getting her into books like The Old Man and the Sea. She was giving him CDs of songs she’s written.

The Russians should be intimidating. They have those mob tattoos, which looked so menacing in Eastern Promises, but in this – they’re all just goofy caricatures. And we never really feel Bob is in any danger, which makes the movie less fun.

Of course this film piles on the same BS you’ve seen in all the other movies. He pines for the wife he lost. It’s surprising they didn’t give him a drinking problem (I’m guessing that was in the original script, but after Flight, they felt it was too soon). The way he drinks tea is a problem. It’s some form of OCD he has, which is never really addressed. Perhaps that’s to show us how it makes him better at analyzing dangerous situations so quickly.

When a few big Russian mobsters are taken down, this brings in the big gun from Moscow (Marton Csokas of The Amazing Spider-Man 2). When one of the Boston cops doesn’t like him barking orders at everyone, we hear him give the speech that was taken from Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction.

Hookers with a heart of gold, Russian mobsters, crooked cops…and a few more we’ve seen many other times. There’s Denzel giving goofy motivational phrases to people that need to be lifted up. There’s him finishing the shift of his low paying job, to train the fat guy. You see, he needs to get his weight down before he takes the test to become an armed security guard. I miss the days of Apollo Creed training Rocky, or Lou Gossett getting in Richard Gere’s face while he’s doing push-ups.

I’m used to characters doing stupid things in movies, but when you make a character smart, it makes things more perplexing to me. For example, Bob blows up a cargo ship the Russians are using for illegal activity. The director thinks filming him walking away in slow motion is cool. He doesn’t even flinch at the sound of the explosion or the debris flying right past his head. That just made me wonder…if he’s so good at looking at his watch, and knowing the exact amount of time – down to the second – that each thing will take…surely he could’ve had the explosion happen when he stepped farther away or around the corner. Would’ve been a bonehead move to have him knocked out by a piece of metal flying into his head.

There are a number of slow motion scenes that felt goofy; one of them during a fight scene with water pouring down (how many times has that been done in an action picture?). The weirdest thing about that was the loud rock song playing. You feel like you’re watching a Bon Jovi video from 1985.

There wasn’t a single compelling thing about this film. I was more interested in watching the guy in front of me that brought his dog into the theatre (it didn’t have a “service dog” vest, so I’m not sure how he pulled that off).

Of all the jokes, only one was mildly amusing. The only thing this movie did that I appreciated, was showing phone numbers a few different times, and none of them were “555.”

I have no clue why I sat through over two hours of this awful movie, or why they felt the need to film it in IMAX. I’m even more perplexed why everyone will go see this and think it’s good entertainment.

It gets 0 stars out of 5.

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