Film #255: THE EQUALIZER
4 out of 5 stars
Another rewatch!!! Director Antoine Fucqua (TRAINING DAY, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN) does good work. A few of his film’s plots have, in the past, dripped with machismo and excess (TRAINING DAY, REPLACEMENT KILLERS, SHOOTER), but he’s completely capable of telling a story more nuanced and subtle. I mean, look at THE EQUALIZER. Well-written, well-acted, paced with aplomb… the film is, in many ways, “a thinking man’s JOHN WICK.” I mean, it’s FULL of action although, unlike WICK, a LOT of it happens off-screen. Now, whether that was a directorial decision or one made by the studios to insure a proper run-time, but… a lot takes place away from the audience’s view. For example, we see the guy rob the store and take the ring. Denzel goes and picks out a sledgehammer and, the next time we see him, he’s wiping it off and putting back on the rack of the store. Disappointing! After emotionally investing in the plight of the ring’s owner, we get denied the satisfaction of “the payback,” Small quibbling, but… it bugged me. I came here to see Mr. Washington kick some ass, goddammit. Don’t deny me that, ok? Still… THE EQUALIZER remains solid with a plot, while familiar, that crackles with possibility and intensity. And, with the film’s ending, it wouldn’t be silly to expect a sequel. I was happy to see Denzel dust off some of his BOOK OF ELI fighting skills and he does a solid job here (the scene in Slavi’s boardroom is bound to become a classic). In the end, THE EQUALIZER is an intelligent, well-played, cerebral action film that satisfies despite its “pulling back” from showing everything. As for that sequel, consider my ticket already purchased.