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With: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chlo‘ Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, David Meunier, Johnny Skourtis, Alex Veadov, Vladimir Kulich, E. Roger Mitchell, James Wilcox, Mike P. O'Dea, Anastasia Mousis
Written by: Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references
Running Time: 131
Date: 09/26/2014

The Equalizer (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Hardware War

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Equalizer re-teams director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel Washington; their previous collaboration, Training Day, won Washington a Best Actor Oscar. They seem to bring out the best in each other.

Based on the TV series that ran from 1985 to 1989 and starring Edward Woodward, The Equalizer now stars Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a retired secret agent, trying to live a normal life in Boston, working at "Home Mart." When he meets a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) living under the control of Russian gangsters, he decides to take action.

Effortlessly killing five men, he creates trouble for a much larger criminal network, and expert problem solver called "Teddy" (Marton Csokas) is called in to get McCall. McCall meanwhile helps out some of his co-workers with other problems as the gangsters realize that they can use his friends to get to him. Everything builds to a showdown at the store.

Fuqua spends luxurious sequences listening to his characters talk to one another, listening, getting to know what makes them tick. This goes for good guys and bad guys alike; Marton Csokas' character has a history and is shown to be smart, rather than just evil.

But it works best for Washington's character. He's tough, and nearly invincible, like a superhero, but he has doubts and personal demons that are endlessly fascinating; the great actor never runs out of things to do onscreen. On the action front, Fuqua builds slowly to his fight scenes, building suspense and creating atmosphere, especially in the lengthy showdown in the home improvement store. Overall, The Equalizer is a violent, not particularly deep or profound, but well-made action-thriller.

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