The Equalizer is a half-assed potboiler action flick that wastes the talent of its cast.
McCall is living a quiet simple life. But when he meets a young girl who has fallen under the control of violent Russian gangsters, he is compelled to come out of a self-imposed retirement.
The Equalizer is the classic tale of the strong and silent type of guy who’s minding his own business until some dipshit pisses him off and all hell breaks loose. This story is nothing new, but you can still have fun with it.
The film sets up its story longer than your typical action blockbuster film. Denzel Washington makes it worthwhile though. He manages to add more depth than the script gave him, making McCall sympathetic even though he has a broken moral compass.
The film gives us the a glimpse of what he’s capable of and the result is a gory but inventive and entertaining action sequence in less than 30 seconds.
But instead of indulging audiences and doing what it’s supposed to do, the Equalizer becomes an overlong origins story with a thinly stretched narrative filled with prop characters.
The threadbare plot is padded with unnecessary subplots. McCall eventually becomes a merciless social justice warrior, but with Batman’s fighting skills against run-of-the-mill thugs, there isn’t much to see.
The villain is mostly useless. Martin Csokas – despite playing the cliche Russian psychopath – is a menacing but underused nemesis. Teddy has a penchant for twisted interrogations, but when the showdown finally comes around, he’s doesn’t do anything dastardly except to snarl.
This problem pretty much permeates throughout the film. The Equalizer promises choreographed bloody action scenes then trades it off with a ludicrous showdown, introduces a stereotypical yet promising villain but gives him nothing interesting to do, and tries to create a hyper-stylized ponderous origins story but doesn’t have an engaging narrative to go with it.
In short, The Equalizer is a half-assed effort to offer a potential new franchise in the Badass grandpa themed action genre.
Denzel Washington proves to be a great actor and keeps this film tolerable enough for those with low expectations. It was fun watching him get creative with hardware tools. But ultimately, his talents were wasted.
My Rating: 5/10