There is no other actor, like Denzel Washington, who could make every movie good. He has played a war hero in Glory, a lawyer in Philadelphia, a high school football coach in Remember the Titans, a narcotics officer in Training Day (which got him an Oscar win), and a flight attendant who is dealing with his alcoholism and cocaine addiction in Flight. He’s like Hollywood’s superhero. If a movie is not that good, Denzel would come in and save the day. In The Equalizer (in which I saw last night), based on the 1980s television show, he brings enough power to make it watchable. However, it was only worth seeing once.
Washington plays Robert McCall, a guy living a quiet life in Boston. He works at a hardware store where he is appreciated by his co-workers, and lives in an apartment spending most of his time reading books. One night at a 24/7 diner, McCall meets a young hooker named Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz, paying tribute to Jodie Foster’s character in Taxi Driver). They have a conversation about Ernest Hemingway’s masterpiece The Old Man and the Sea. He tells her she can be what she wants to be in the future. They get along well until Teri gets beaten up by the Russian mafia. Since he promised himself to put his past behind him, McCall goes back into full swing as a black-ops commando for one reason and one reason only: Vengeance!
Director Antoine Fuqua brings a nifty style to his gritty direction. However, it doesn’t make The Equalizer that great of movie. It’s necessarily violent (particularly one scene where it’s like a grotesque version of Home Alone), but it’s far from original and the characters (including the villains) don’t bring that much depth at all.