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on September 26, 2014
Look, nobody has been more critical of Denzel Washington over the last few years than me, and it has nothing to do with the man's ability to command the screen. Washington is one of our great treasures, a timeless star with a seemingly endless reservoir of cool. But fulfilling roles are few and far between. For every chance he gets to star in something like Flight, he'll do three or four mediocre but money-making films like 2 Guns, Safe House, and Unstoppable. On the surface The Equalizer would seem to fit into that latter category. It's a throwback that checks all the boxes in the tortured action hero model. There's even a slow-motion walk away from a gigantic explosion. But there's also something to be said for a film that allows Denzel to do his best Charles Bronson in Death Wish, and even if there aren't many surprises The Equalizer is one kick-ass film from start to finish.

Many will recognize The Equalizer from the cult favorite 1980s TV series led by Ed Woodward, but they'll see few similarities in the bleak and bloody version directed by Training Day's Antoine Fuqua. Something about when Denzel hooks up with Fuqua that brings out the best in him. It's the freedom to show his dark side, and Denzel always eats up those opportunities when they come around. He plays Robert McCall, a genial, helpful stock guy at a Home Depot-type store. This being The Equalizer, we know that no guy can be quite as happy as McCall seems to be. His barely-furnished home reeks of loneliness, and unable to sleep McCall frequents the same diner each morning at 2am. There he meticulously arranges the condiments, reads his book, and converses with Elena (Chloe Grace Moretz), the headstrong yet troubled prostitute apparently using the place as her base of operations. Their conversations are friendly, but distant. She has hopes of something more out of life and he's eager to encourage her out of the business. When a bunch of Russian goons beat her up, sending her to the hospital, McCall does what any average Home Depot employee would do, which is systematically destroy her attackers with a lethal flurry of violence. It's not just that he wipes out four heavily-armed goons all by himself; it's how he does it. Coldly, calmly assessing the situation beforehand, McCall's impulses kick into action. So what if he's a bit slower than he was back in the day (yes, he sets his stopwatch to clock everything), this is McCall in his natural element; not stacking plywood.

This is Denzel in full Man on Fire-mode; confident, brooding, a lean mean murdering machine who makes killing look smooth and easy. His slick demeanor is matched by the bottled ferocity of Marton Csokas, who plays Teddy, a psychotic Russian fixer sent in to discover who has disrupted the mob's operations. What McCall doesn't know is that his moment of vengeance has attracted the attention of some people in very high places, and they want him dead. What ensues isn't really a game of cat and mouse as it is cat vs. cat. McCall and Teddy are pretty brazen and upfront about what they intend to do to one another, and the body count skyrockets before the inevitable showdown. That McCall has a nemesis worthy of being feared is a credit to screenwriter Richard Wenk, who along with Fuqua's unsubtle direction creates a film that glorifies its violent excesses. Fuqua loves tough-guy movies like this and is well-suited to the task. Visual inventiveness has never been his specialty and The Equalizer doesn't demand it from him. All you need to know about Wenk is that he also wrote The Expendables and 16 Blocks. There's not a lot of nuance to be found in the story itself, but Denzel adds what layers he can to McCall's evolution into a street vigilante. He's a man who has always prided himself on righting wrongs, but a promise to never resort to killing again has him torn and seeking the help of old CIA friends (Melissa Leo and Bill Paxton in minor cameos) before embarking on a dark path.

The Equalizer is brutal stuff, and the constant bloodshed could have been numbing if Denzel wasn't such an engaging hero. Even during the wildly ridiculous final showdown which has McCall butchering his foes with power tools (worst product placement ever!!!), you can't help but cheer for the guy. Is he probably just as much of a monster as the people he's killing? Maybe, but that's a question that's never really asked and desperately needs to be explored. Its possible McCall will ask himself that question in the already green lit sequel. Or perhaps not. The Equalizer doesn't bother with the heavy stuff; it does what it promised to do which is deliver an entertaining, action-packed experience and one of Denzel's better recent performances.
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on September 5, 2015
This movie for Denzel Washington is like "Jack Reacher" was for Tom Cruz. The theme of the movie is the tried and true action movie theme wherein a "retired" highly trained agent/operative/soldier/detective/etc. . . trying to cope with the demons from his past overcomes his PTSD by coming out of retirement to fight for those people who can't help themselves, usually little girls/old ladies/wrongly accused/etc. from the evil bad guys usually engaged in drugs/prostitution/gun running/slavery/patsy/scape goat/etc. . . through an ever escalating display of the "special training" to right the wrong. If that theme appeals to you, this one is one of the best if seen.

Thus, for all those that have criticized the cliche theme of the movie, the movie is not the problem. You are. You either ignored the trailer telling you what to expect or watched the trailer and were, idiotically disappointed that the advertisement for the movie delivered what it told you it would. A piece of advice. Don't watch genres that your tired of or weren't really interested in at all. If you do and then don't like it, it's your fault, not the movie makers. Giving a low rating on a move because of your ignorance just reinforces what you are

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on August 14, 2016
Our seemingly ordinary working-class hero slowly decides to take on the dreaded evil "Russian Mafia" to help clean up clean up his neighborhood. He's experienced and meticulous and oh so resourceful... especially when he finally lures his adversaries to HIS turf... the big-box home improvement store where he works. He's such an accomplished warrior that he hardly ever touches guns throughout the film so there are many nifty weapon-surprises. Amazingly, none of it comes off as trite entertainment because his enemies feel authentic and very dastardly down to their devilish tattoos. It gets serious! But we also see Denzel's warmth shining through. If you're into a competent good-guy action hero fighting evil with a little help from his friends, and you don't mind graphic bloody scenes, this film has about everything you need. I was glued to the screen.
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on October 16, 2016
I really liked this movie and have watched it a lot. Denzel Washington plays a great tough guy but is also a nice person that you really like. He becomes an unstoppable avenger and takes down an entire organization that is steeped in corruption, drugs, hookers and other illegal activities. This movie seems almost realistic in the way it is written, and the acting is quite good. The story line is almost believable, and I say almost because most people that would try to do what Denzel Washington gets away with would be killed in the process. And perhaps I am being a little unreasonable here, but the authorities never seem to care about what Denzel Washington is doing, which does not pass the test of reason. This is definitely a fantasy movie. Luck is with Denzel Washington, and the good guy wins in the end. It definitely qualifies as an action movie with only one casualty of a girl that did not deserve to die. All the bad guys receive their just deserts, as they say.
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on December 8, 2017
Maybe the best movie that Denzel Washington has ever made. Be aware that this is not like the television show. It is extremely and necessarily violent. I like good revenge action movies where the hero rescues the innocent and dispatches the evil guys, in this case Russian mobsters. Definitely a feel-good movie, and I actually watched it more than once because it was so good. It is intelligent, thoughtful, action-packed, and Washington is absolutely superb as the Equalizer. I cannot imagine anyone else playing this role.
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on November 23, 2015
I remember the original TV series from the 1980's starring the British gentleman and it was very good. This film however is ten times better! A former agent of the U.S.A. is now living a quiet life in the big city. However, he cannot simply stand idly by and watch an underaged prostitute get used and beat up by her bosses who are Russian mob. This reminds me most of Above the Law or Hard to Kill starring Stephen Seagal in that they are agents that get involved with mobsters that are out to kill them and their lady friends and it turns into a blood bath! Retirement is boring and usually not an option for agents. Why not use your skills to help people who are helpless? Call the Equalizer.
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on March 19, 2018
Classic Denzel, a former CIA asset, disciplined, quietly menacing, convincingly down to earth, yet lethal, crime-wise, intelligent and sympatico to the poor and downtrodden of his urban neighborhood. In his portrayal of a man retired from the dark side of life, when he was in the rare position to be able stop evildoers in their tracks, by God, he DID it, and damn sure convincingly too. A master of self-defense and OFFENSE :-) Love Denzel's work and his motivational speaking as well.
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on March 2, 2018
When this was first announced, I had my doubts. Then I saw it on cable and happily my doubts were removed. This movie was inspired by the tv show, and Edward Woodward was to Robert McCall like Sean Connery was to James Bond.

Denzel Washington and the rest of the cast and crew get your buy in at the very beginning. This movie has more of a believable edge that the tv show, and Denzel Washington's portrayal of Robert McCall is perfect. He plays McCall as a man who was just sitting on the sidelines, trying to live the remainder of his life in peace and harmony, and then crime and violence enter his life and he, as his character states it simply, "Has to hit something stupid."

The side stories fit into the main story, there is a nod to the original series, yet the movie explores something that the tv show did not. One can be a force for good by being a coach, a friend, and an active member of the community, but be prepared to stand up for what you believe and hold those who have our public trust accountable.

As for music, special effects, dialogue, character development, cinematography, pace, this movie has it all.
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on January 7, 2015
Ah so many disappointed (40) one star reviews. Guess I should never be surprised. Hey, this is a kill the bad men movie. You couldn't have guessed this by the title??? It's one of the things Denzel does really well. (Remember Man on Fire)? Could he make other more "meaningful" movies absolutely! ---Where are they- the scripts for these "meaningful movies"? Not so very many out there these days. So he is making a living, and doing it with a lot of style! I loved this movie, corny scenes and all. He is just so dam good at anything he performs in. And who does not want to see thugs get what they deserve and then some!!! Unless you have a special soft side for criminals of this ilk. It quite often does not happen in court in real life because well, that's just how the system works. So we get to see it in make believe on the big screen. We forget ourselves for a brief moment in time, have a laugh or two, and there were some very dark humor parts in this movie which I did appreciate thank you. So lets remember that this is Hollywood, and most of what appears on the screen is Hollywood tinted. If you want real, then watch documentary films, if you can find any of those that are totally accurate that is. I give this movie 5 stars because it was entertaining, had imagination,( loved the hardware weapons ) and I like to see the mean guys get crushed. And no I'm not a GUY, I'M A GIRL OMG!!! We can get down with the "kill the bad guy" too. It's not just the guys that liked this movie.
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on June 22, 2015
THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME!!!! DENZEL WASHINGTON IS SUPERB IN THIS ACTION THRILLER!!!! One of the greatest attributes to watching a great movie, is trying to figure out each sequence and the story line, before and as the plot thickens and expands. This movie has more twists and turns than the best of roller coasters, but has a storyline, that you can watch over and over again and find something you may have missed before!!! Denzel is the greatest actor out there, but I love how they down-played his character this time. He holds no special high political office, nor does he wear a cop's badge this time. He is not playing an evil or corrupt individual, but is portrayed as an ordinary citizen just trying to live life...much like we do, without high stress or confrontation.

BUT...when faced with those high lever stressful situations...well then...OH BOY, THE FIREWORKS BEGIN!!! They may be short bursts of fireworks, or can be a long involved set of fireworks. Just stayed glued to your seats, when the action starts, because you won't be prepared for how he handles each and every situation individually!!!

Without going into and giving up valuable storylines, I will just say that you must SEE THIS MOVIE....PLEASE!!!!!!!! You will NOT be disappointed!!! Yes. I highly recommend this movie to my family and friends wholeheartedly!!!!!!!!
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