Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Moretz, Marton Csokas
Director: Antoine Fuqua
While the plot clichés in The Equalizer will make your eyes roll, the action sequences, to be fair, are not so bad
How Antoine Fuqua manages to make one mediocre and uninspiring action movie after another is a mystery in itself, but the fact that his films make a ton of money is something out of 'The X Files'.
Fuqua's Oscar-winning 'Training Day' was a giant bag of mediocrity only buoyed by Denzel Washington's acting, and he's followed that up with one crummy actioner after another, including 'King Arthur', 'Tears of the Sun', 'Shooter' and last year's horrible 'Olympus Has Fallen'. Now he's back with yet another clumsy and clunky action movie, this time reteaming with Washington, and the result is as expected.
This is a movie meant for a particular target audience – people who can adore anything that Washington does. Give the man a gun and his fans will scream in delight. Make him a vengeful do gooder and you'll hear applause. Turn him into an ex-military avenger and you have a giant hit on your hands. Washington has played the role of an avenger twice already – most famously in the much superior 'Man on Fire'. He played the dirty gun-slinging beast last year in 'Two Guns'. In 'The Equalizer', we get a combo of the two.
In fact, the filmmakers jettison all needs to give any backstory to the character – Washington just happens to be a good guy store worker, with an unknown past. He just happens to be really good at martial arts and hand gun firing. Like in 'Man on Fire' he sees his new friend, a little girl (played by Chloe Moretz) being ill treated by some mafia don and goes on a rampage, shooting everything in sight. The mafia in question is the Russian one, assuring you that there isn't much difference between this movie and whatever Liam Neeson did in the first two and the upcoming third 'Taken' movie.
With the plot cliches already making your eyes roll, one expects at least some decent action mayhem for entertainment purposes. To be fair, the action is not so bad. One sequence at the finale in a warehouse, featuring music by Jack Hempsey, is quite great. There is also some guilty pleasure to see a hero kick baddies in the nuts, no matter how bad the story of the film is. What the film actually does wrong is that it takes itself too seriously. Washington's character reads Hemmingway and Fuqua gives some parallels between his own filmmaking and the works of the author. There is only so much tongue in cheek one can take in one movie.