The Equalizer: Denzel Delivers

By Dom Quaranta

Denzel Washington is no stranger to channeling the role of an unforgiving bad ass. Whether it is his portrayal of ruthless Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas in “American Gangster” or his role on the opposite side of the law as LAPD Narcotics Detective Alonzo Harris in “Training Day,” his trademark one-liners and piercing glares captivate audiences no matter what the character. In his most recent film “The Equalizer,” Washington plays a retired black ops government operative named Robert McCall living in Boston, Massachusetts. What begins as a temporarily quiet existence quickly escalates into a rude awakening.

Within the first few scenes of McCall in his humble Boston abode, the viewer quickly realizes that his rituals that border on OCD-like tendencies practically scream military veteran and it is quickly realized that this man has been trained to live as efficiently as a human being possibly can. In other words, McCall is the kind of person that springs up in the morning at 5:59 am just in time to stop his alarm before it strikes 6:00 am. Immediately, the audience is anticipating this pacified veteran in times of peace to unleash his skills upon a criminal kingpin that threatens the community’s tranquil state.

McCall’s fury does not disappoint, and a previously mild lifestyle of afternoon teatimes and Ernest Hemmingway novels transforms into fighting Russian human traffickers that threaten the life of a young prostitute he befriends, named Alina, and is played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Makeshift kitchen explosions, power-tools converted into weapons and drawn-out slow motion struts all comprise what can only be described as a elements of a quintessential action flick.

Ultimately, director Antoine Fuqua achieves the goals that anyone who wants to see this movie is expecting to be achieved. “The Equalizer” includes a lot of action scenes, violence at almost every turn and numerous slow motion sequences of Washington walking dramatically whilst staring menacingly into the camera. Those elements of intensity and dramatic effect however, do not try to be anything more than what is expected within the confines of this kind of film.

With absolute certainty, “The Equalizer” is nowhere near the caliber of film to receive an Oscar-worthy recognition, but the commitment to character that Washington and Moretz display keep the relatively predictable plot bearable enough to string together a comprehensive story line that keeps the action solidified.