Friday, October 10, 2014

[Review] The Equalizer

The Equalizer is the run-of-the-mill anti-hero action flick. It doesn't really offer anything profound or do anything to differentiate from or rise above films of the same type, but if you're content with watching Denzel Washington kick ass for a couple of hours, then you should be somewhat satisfied.

From the very beginning, Bob (Washington) is intently portrayed as the "every man." He's got a normal morning routine (he's actually shown putting his pants one leg at a time). He takes the bus to work for his repetitive warehouse department store job. He converses regular banter with his co-workers. He sets a timer on his watch for various tasks.

The status quo changes when he meets a young prostitute named Teri (Chloe Grace Mortez) at his favorite diner, and he witnesses her get slapped around by some Russian pimps. Bob holds back at the moment, but we know this ignites a switch inside him and we definitely haven't seen the end of this battle. It turns out Bob also sets a timer on his watch for when he's beating the crap out of a room full of mobsters.

Isn't there always a satisfying rush when a lone person strolls up into an area full of unsuspecting enemies and takes out each one of them? The Equalizer delivers plenty of this in its stylish and brutally violent action sequences. A lot of sharp objects get jammed into arteries, and skulls are pounded into the pavement. Denzel Washington keeps his charisma as he embarks on a vigilante spree, eliminating factions of criminals throughout the whole city, all while keeping his day job.

Unfortunately, the bloody action scenes aren't the only messy thing about this film. The midsection lulls and trails off at times, threatening the story's cohesion while also stripping it of its own identity. It definitely feels like the film could've benefited greatly by having 30 minutes sliced off, especially in respect to the swiftness and efficiency of its lead character. And on a side note, Chloe Grace Mortez's character is barely utilized, and by the end of the movie you almost forget that she was in it. 

Despite its falters, The Equalizer does have its payoffs--most notably a ridiculous, yet entertaining climax in a department store where everything is a weapon, like one of those 'anything goes' wrestling matches. But I'm calling for it now - We need a more succinct thriller next time, and we need Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson to join forces as the ultimate gritty aging crime-fighting duo.


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