The Equalizer (2014)

The Equalizer (2014)
  • Time: 128 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Antoine Fuqua
  • Cast: Denzel Washington, Chloë Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas


In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when McCall meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.


  • I went into this movie with an open mind as Denzel is ageing and this movie didn’t have much hype. I left throughly impressed and would go back and watch it again. Denzel plays a very calm, respectful and polite older man who frequently visits the local coffee shop where he reads books and chats with a young girl who is into some pretty negative stuff in her life. (Prostitution) He acts as a father figure to her and tries guiding her in the right direction in life. Just as this happens sh*t hits the fan and that’s where the action picks up. You find out quickly that he possesses some ‘special’ skills. Basically this is the type of movie you can’t help but get behind and cheer for the good guy. He exacts revenge on everyone who does him or his friends wrong. He does so in a very savage way and uses odd weapons to get the job done. (Rarely uses a gun) Throughout the movie you’re shown how great of a human being he is, as he constantly tries helping less fortunate people get ahead in life. The villains are cast very well and give you the impression that they’re no one to mess around with and surprise you with intelligence. However a villain is a villain and you know how that ends. If you want to see a truly badass movie with a ballsy tough guy this is the movie. It’s not 100% action all of the time but that’s what makes it great. Lots of buildup to the ass whoopings! 9/10

  • Based on the television series of the same name, The Equalizer focuses on Robert McCall, who has put his mysterious past behind him as he dedicates himself to a normal quiet life. That is until he meets a young girl controlled by an ultra-violent Russian gangster. His help leads him into danger, calling upon his past training to remove the threat.

    I personally haven’t seen the television series and as such was unsure of what to expect, having said that from the first 10/15 minutes you get the impression there is more to this man than meets the eye (especially if you’ve seen the trailer). What is unexpected is all the gore, this is not a film for the faint-hearted or easily squeamish. The first time we see Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington (2 Guns) called into action, it is incredibly bloody with very visual moments of gore (slit throats, etc).

    If you’re able to get past all the gore (just look away for those moments), the film is very gripping, it’s slow but builds up well while you learn more about what he is about with his own form of justice. While there isn’t much of a story with a lack of twists and turns, it’s the way it’s presented on screen that will keep you hooked with some fantastic (but again gory) action scenes. The ending however falters, with a film that’s over two hours long, it spends far too long on menial moments, but glosses over the final and could be considered, most important part of the film.

    Read the full review here.

  • In recent years, Denzel Washington has established and slowly disintegrated his status as a badass action star in films like Man on Fire. And with director Antoine Fuqua, the pair have attempted to recapture the magic of the Academy Award-winning Training Day. Spoiler alert, they haven’t. What they have done is create a solid, slow-paced action-thriller that gets progressively more random and inevitably settles down in mediocrity.

    The Equaliser follows Robert McCall, a quiet, private and apparently ex-military middle-aged man working in a hardware warehouse store. Much of the first half of the film is spent following him through his daily routines, his work and his friendships there (specifically Ralphie, who Robert is helping to become a security guard), and a local coffee shop where he visits nightly to read and talk to under-age prostitute Teri (Moretz). McCall loves to help people out, and this eventually evolves from helping train Ralphie and encouraging Teri, to murdering her pimp and taking on an international criminal organisation.

    Read the whole review at

  • Any movie with Denzel Washington as the main actor I’m all in. My expectations are usually quite high as well because of him. Once again, he doesn’t disappoint. Although the plot is nothing new, the tension builds well and the action is handled superbly by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen). There is a number of loud and full on action set pieces but also several quieter scenes which are as equally as gripping. Denzel Washington is as cool as ice and as good as ever and is easily one of the most consistent and reliable actors working in Hollywood – can you believe he is almost 60? Age is definitely not a barrier here.

    “The Equalizer” is one of more surprising films of 2014. The gritty tone and occasional splattering of blood set this apart from most of the “toned down” action films from the last few years. Whilst it’s not perfect, it has everything a modern action film fan could ask for and if you like your movies with a bit of righteous vengeance then look no further.

  • The Equalizer 7/10: I am gonna go on a limb and say most Denzel fans have seen his most famous role- Training Day. Denzel’s role of the corrupted cop Alonzo Harris is known as one of the biggest badass roles of all time. Picture Denzel in Training Day, but as a good guy. That is his character in The Equalizer. To make it even better, the director from Training Day returned to direct this film. I cannot picture a better scenario. Despite some over the top Hollywood moments, The Equalizer delivers in strong lead acting, great music underscoring, and equally impressive action sequences to give one of the most entertaining action films this year.

    What I mean by over the top Hollywood moments is things like walking away from a huge explosion without looking back. Training Day was very successful at staying away from those kind of moments which is why it was such a memorable action movie. Unfortunately, this film decided to use those moments which are entertaining, but put it closer into the general action film category. These select few times in the film were the only moments where I was just thinking to myself “really?” Fortunately, nothing else seemed to bother me about the film.

    Now to the best part of the film, Denzel-freaking-Washington. He perfectly played this role, I firmly believe no one could have played it better. He wasn’t just able to give you the great badass that the director asked from him, he gave more.

    For full review and more,

  • Who does not like Denzel Washington…? Not many people. The fact is that there is something really cool about the characterizations he creates which often are underplayed and stick in our memory for a long time after the viewing. He likes to transform himself from character to character but always leaves that groove walk that became in some way his signature. The problem with Hollywood film industry is that once something worked in the past it will be repeated. Production companies almost never want to take a risk with the original projects. It is better to find some old movie or TV show and make a new spin off based on the old concept. This is where “The Equalizer” fits in on paper, very enjoyable and existing triller that is based on 80’s TV series originally starring Edward Woodward. Russell Crowe was originally attached to star as Robert McCall eventually the role went to Denzel and probably with better effect. The only minus is that Denzel has done this type of part on more than one occasion. Tony Scott’s “Man on Fire” immediately comes to mind, also “Safe House”, “Out of Time ” as well as to some extend “Training Day”. This last one was directed by Antoine Fuqua who also happens to be director of “The Equalizer”. Sadly the genius of “Training day” did not follow him here even though he did the best he could with the material presented to him in the script by Richard Wenk adopted from TV show ideas of Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.

    “McCall (Denzel Washington) is a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. (we find out about that though half way through the movie) When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall’s desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.”

    I wish the script would have been better because there is truly potential here with the cast that has been assembled. Every movie needs a good antagonist and Marton Csokas as Teddy offers a good counterpart to Denzel’s character. His mix of sophistication and sadism offers well needed dose of balance between humanity (McCall) and evil (Russian mafia’s “cleaner” Teddy). The scene between McCall and Teddy in the restaurant when they come face to face is one of the best and most intense acting wise. Watching that scene brought to mind another iconic scene form movie the “Heat” between Pacino and DeNiro. Very enjoyable indeed, full of depth and internal dialog specially played in close up where the eyes do the talking.

    The action scenes are shot in manner that resemble bit Tony Scott’s style of filmmaking, in fact the whole film stylistically might have been inspired by work of the late director. Before every action scene
    McCall as a gimmick start his stop watch and estimates how long it will take him to kill subjects with the shortest amount of time. He choreographs the attack based on the threat and objects that he uses as weapons with minimal amount of movement.

    Despite of the unoriginal story and perhaps little bit cliché ending I did enjoy “The Equalizer” for what it was. A popcorn flick which could have been so much more. But then again money roles Hollywood and judging by response of the audience tonight “The Equalizer” will make a good box-office. I am just hoping for Denzel Washington that he will not get type casted with this type of roles which he always does really well, but here he did not have much to do, in terms of his character development. Though he was still ice cool as always.
    (******* out of 10)
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  • The Equalizer is NOT Man on Fire. The Equalizer is NOT your typical action flick. Washington’s Robert McCall is not self-destructive or addicted. Though there are great choreographed fights, special effects and fantastic explosions, The Equalizer is more Bourne than Bond. Denzel Washington portrays this ex-CIA operative, who is content to live a meticulously simple life. Quietly contained, but with ever-building intensity, Washington turns in another stellar performance.

    Chloe Grace Moretz, as the teenage prostitute, is a force…

    Antoine Fuqua, the directer who brought us Training Day, which earned Denzel his Best Actor Oscar, helms this movie with a steady hand. His direction of the drama and the action blend seamlessly, drawing us into the complexity of this character-driven piece.

    Robert McCall keeps to himself, content to live his ordinary life; he is every man’s man. But, his steady moral compass, and strong sense of justice lead him back into the fray. This character is not infallible, and he is not looking for trouble. He just wants what’s right.

    This film is a superbly acted, exciting and violent ride! In the pursuit of justice, there will be blood. But this time, you’ll be rooting for the good guy, and I, a fifty years young woman, loved every minute of it!

  • Sandcooler

    The revenge flick is one of those subgenres Hollywood never seems to get tired of. The main reason for that is that they just look so damn easy to write: just get a gang of evil stereotypes harming someone innocent and then turn the tables, you’re done. It seems like the formula really does everything for you, it just comes down to coming up with action scenes until you can finally kill of the main villain. “The Equalizer” however is a movie that shows us how much you can do with the genre if your screenwriter’s not phoning it in. For example, most revenge movies make the error of barely establishing the victim, making it difficult to care when the baddies get their comeuppance. In this one Chloe Grace Moretz doesn’t get much screen time, but it’s not necessary: it just takes about two scenes to start caring about her character. In fact, everything about this movie seems compact yet efficient. There isn’t a single scene that goes on for too long, nor is there a single boring moment. While most action movies just throw everything they have at you and see what sticks, “The Equalizer” is just a perfect puzzle: the pacing, the visual style, the almost cartoonish violence, the brilliant performance by Denzel Washington (who switches back and forth between loving friend and cruel angel of vengeance with baffling ease), everything just clicks together. “The Equalizer” is nothing you haven’t seen before, but you’ve rarely seen it done this competently.

  • “When you pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too.”

    Can you remember Denzel Washington’s performance in “The Book of Eli” ? His coolness and calmness. The grimness. The power he has to move mountains. Approaching his target confidently , his inner tranquility taking over and with extreme precision dealing with his opponents. Shrewdly assimilating the situation, let it sink in for a moment and than act fast accurately. Masterfully, breathtaking to watch and immensely exciting. He also demonstrates these qualities in “The Equalizer”. The only difference is that he’s not completely blind here.

    At first sight Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) looks like an ordinary, well-organized man who has an normal job in a hardware store. Apparently he was one of the Pips performing with Gladys Knight in the distant past (according to the plausible explanation of Robert who as a bonus demonstrates a few sultry dance moves as illustration). The fact he has nothing to do with the Pips, quickly becomes obvious. His true identity is not explained completely in detail. It’s evident he had a career as a sort of Special Task Force member which he turned his back on and now runs a meticulously organized and strictly simple life. A sober furnished room with precisely folded bed sheets, a sink that looks spick and span and a daily routine going to a coffee shop with a tea bag tucked in his shirt after a consumed supper and a book in his possession which he puts on the table on the same exact place everytime. He himself is a walking “Wikipedia” who comes up with an appropriate philosophical quote from time to time. So, it’s a militaristic ordered life.

    But he also has skills to deal with injustices. It’s as if he gives the criminals of this world, who placed themselves above the ordinary people and act as untouchable individuals who manipulate defenseless civilians, a taste of their own medicine and knock them off their pedestals. A kind of liquidator. Similarly when the face of Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young hooker Robert met in the coffee shop, is being remodelled by her pimp Slavi (David Meunier) (pimped as it were) after which she ends up in the hospital.
    When Robert wants to straighten out the situation (by offering Slavi a substantial sum of money, which the Russian of course declines) we finally get what we were waiting for after 30 minutes : no-bullshit action in slow motion with a with precision hitting Washington wiping out a complete Russian gang in about 19 seconds. And apologizing afterwards for it. A beautiful scene with a true avenging angel playing the starring role ! The only drawback is that he has liquidated an important part of the Russian mafia. And of course they are not going to start a Cossack dance. On the contrary. They send Teddy (Marton Csokas), a violent character without emotion and also with deadly skills. He looks after the affairs of a certain Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich). A fearsome opponent for McCall with similar qualities.

    That things aren’t really believable and the same old clichés are used again, I take that for granted. Washington can set himself as a one-man army and dismantle a Russian gangster mob as a Schwarzenegger, whereby there’s slow motion footage and rousing music. Also the usual characteristics of a revenge movie aren’t eschewed : the simple way of getting rid of a rather well-organized criminal group, explosions in the background (and of course there’s no looking back), again members of the mob who are too dumb for words and are all horrible lousy shooters who’d miss an African elephant even while aiming at it from a meter away and the well-known climax in the end with usage of all available attributes. You know a cliché, you got it. And that the Russians are back, merely has to do with the fact that this is allowed again on an international level. As soon as North Korea stops rocking the boat whenever their country is used in a movie and starts sending threats to certain countries, you can be sure there will be Korean casualties again in future action movies.

    Washington is the most suitable man for this part. Just think of the character Joyhn Creasy in “Man on Fire” who leaves a trail of destruction in Mexico city while looking for Lupita. Also the same coolness and determination. He plays those roles with a certain flair, as if they were written specifically for him. His famous “Denzel” -characteristics he uses in each film : the quiet gaze, his typical smile and the icy one-liners. I must admit, I’m a Washington fan. His mutation of a cheerful, helpful and humorous average citizen into an avenger of the top shelf who exhibits sadistic features, is magnificent. And despite her young age, Chloë Grace Moretz shows a lot of maturity. The makeup probably helped with this, but still it’s an excellent interpretation by this young talent. The rest of the cast really looks like a bunch of terrifying mobsters with their upper bodies covered by tattoos, their corrupt spirit and their stone-hard indifference.

    Despite the long playtime and the slow storyline, I never felt bored. This action packed revenge movie was over before I knew it. Of course the content is a bit shallow and afterwards you start wondering why the heck there isn’t a global group of such figures as McCall who hunt down organizations worldwide and liquidate them with an arsenal of nail guns. You do get the impression that McCall is a kind of super hero with human vulnerability and that it’s just an intense action movie with some mindless hulks. But it was fun and a hell of a rollercoaster ride …

  • Movie Name : The Equalizer
    Genre : Action / Thriller
    Rating : Good

    Denzel Washington has created a strong reputation of himself as a hard- hitting performer with powerful dialogues coupled with stylish-action stunts. The Equalizer might be similar to what you have seen before on the silver screen but it the strong charisma of Denzel which makes the film simply superb.

    Robert is an ex-army man leading a simple and quiet life until one evening his life changes when tries to do the right thing by saving an unknown person’s life.

    Based on TV series, The Equalizer is a simple story told with fascinating execution and commendable action scenes, and that is the beauty of this film which was little over-stretched in the climax but was saved by astounding Denzel Washington. Antonie Fuqua ( Training Day ) did pretty well in shaping the movie to be a blunt and taut revenge action-packed thriller. The movie takes sometime to build on you but when it does , there is no turning back. Each scene is beautifully depicted with rocking background score and applauding dialogues. Icing on the cake is the well-choreographed action scenes which has been executed brilliantly with graphic bloodshed looking like a PC game. Script is tight and will keep you engaged. The flip-side is unnecessary inclusion of climax scenes which could be easily be edited. Art direction and cinematography is superb. I loved Denzel Washington’s punchline as he turns from a common man into a super-human rescuing the girl from the hands of evil. Do not the miss 16-seconds action scenes between him and the thugs. Chloë Grace Moretz does well in the supporting role.

    You will become a fan of Denzel Washington after watching The Equalizer. Good 3/5

  • Without hesitation, I will stand by my convictions and say that the crime thriller Training Day was my pick for best film of 2001. Lead actor Denzel Washington won an Oscar playing a revved up Popeye Doyle type (a la The French Connection) and director Antoine Fuqua hurled himself into the spotlight with his fast paced, eclectic shooting style and signature roving camera technique. Now in the fall of 2014, these two have reunited again (and it feels so good, ha!) for The Equalizer, another crime thriller that is based on a fairly successful 80’s television series of the same name. Is this film as messy, powerful, dark, cathartic, or as good as Training Day? No not exactly. But if you’re a fan of Washington (who isn’t) and are curious to see if Fuqua can actually make something worthwhile again (lately he’s misfired with flicks like Olympus Has Fallen being a horrible Die Hard ripoff and 2010’s Brooklyn’s Finest being overlong and out of his collective realm as a filmmaker), then The Equalizer will no doubt satisfy you, the audience member.

    With a plot that seems one note at first before kicking into high gear via the second and third act, and an antagonist who resembles Kevin Spacey’s evil twin brother in the looks department, The Equalizer follows retired intelligence officer Robert McCall (Washington). Once a trained killer and someone who supposedly had a fellow agent help fake his own death, McCall now leads a boring, middle aged life. He works at I guess, a Home Depot-like hardware store, he lives in a apartment with basically bare walls and a couple of pieces of furniture, he doesn’t sleep, he doesn’t eat, and when he does go out of his apartment, he frequents a diner where he brings a tea bag with him and orders nothing but hot water (strange don’t you think). McCall also reads books like The Invisible Man and The Old Man and the Sea (these books sort of serve as metaphors for the film’s storytelling sensibilities) and likes to place silverware and cups on certain spots on a table. Basically, he’s an odd, dull dude until Russian gangsters, a common thief, and two dirty cops mess with a few of his acquaintances (Teri, a young prostitute played by the overexposed Chloe Grace Moretz and Ralphie, a budding security guard played by Johnny Skourtis to name two). Within the film’s first 30-40 minutes, Washington’s McCall (just like his Alonzo Harris in Training Day) gets in big trouble with the Russian Mafia (essentially the film’s main plot point). Why? Because he killed five of their U.S. allies in 19 seconds (give or take). They wouldn’t give Teri the freedom she deserves from being their sexualized civil servant. So basically in the end, McCall quote unquote “has to find peace” by killing this whole Mafia chain. That is The Equalizer in a nutshell and what helps it rise above most crime thrillers is the intelligence of Washington’s resurrected character. He’s one step ahead of everybody and you never sense that he is in any danger or peril. The whole nature at which he goes about his situation comes off as predictable and pat. To a degree though, it actually works.

    Along with having a similar (or almost identical) film score to Training Day (as mentioned earlier) and eerily possessing its various camera angles, The Equalizer didn’t so much remind me of “Day” as it hinted more towards Washington’s 2004 effort, Man on Fire. The themes are similar (you know the act of revenge on the despicable schleps who do harm to the innocent) yet “Equalizer” is superior in that Antoine Fuqua doesn’t glorify images of grotesque violence coupled with silly, unnecessary subtitles like the late Tony Scott did. He directs with less flash and the results are careful, calculated, and more efficient (just like our hero, Robert McCall). Yes, this flick is violent and at times, Denzel’s special ops character dispatches villains in the style of Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies (I’m not kidding people). But most of the fight scenes are done with minimal lighting so you don’t see a ton of blood and gore. And to assure you that someone is taking a beating, the sound effects with every bone break/throat slash, are louder than they need to be (a Fuqua trademark).

    When it’s all said and done, this is essentially a thirteen year reunion of a movie featuring director Fuqua and his can’t miss collaborator in star Washington. It’s a serviceable effort despite descending into your standard, routine bloody action fare towards its conclusion. It works ultimately because of Denzel who along with Al Pacino and Liam Neeson, is up there with being one of my favorite movie stars of all time. If you cut his arm (hypothetically speaking of course), he would literally bleed cool. With the exception of kicking every one’s butt all over the place in “Equalizer”, he actually underplays this performance. Instead of emoting like a monkey on amphetamines like he did volcanically in Training Day, he instead relies on a natural, burning screen presence and a cool walk through a room exuding confidence and some serious swag. If you choose to take in a viewing of The Equalizer, know that 100% of what goes on involves Washington doing the whole One Man Army thing. Thankfully, he separates himself from the pack (you know, the Schwarzeneggers, the Stallones, and the Seagals) by being a better actor than most action stars, exhibiting some sophistication on eluding (or infiltrating) the bad guys, and essentially showing the audience how the art of being a one man vigilante would realistically go down. So for those reasons, you should buy a ticket, get settled in this fall, and wait for the lights to dim. After taking in an early matinee, The Equalizer “equaled” three stars for me. I think you’ll enjoy it as well.

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