5 years

Trailer Review: The Equalizer (2014)

Denzel Washington is a man on fire again.

A new trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer is online and it shows Denzel Washington is still convincing in action man roles. The movie is based on the popular eighties UK TV series starring Edward Woodward.

Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is the equalizer, a former action man who has a shady past that he is trying to put behind him. Things get rather hectic however when he meets a young prostitute called Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz in a surprising role.) McCall decides to help Teri escape from the gangsters who forced her into prostitution by using his skills with combat to defeat them. It is clear that McCall still has solid fighting skills and he takes out the gangsters with little effort. Unfortunately, the hoods were members of the Russian mob led by Teddy (Marton Csokas) who wants revenge. McCall has to fight to keep Teri safe and find a way to deal with the Russian mafia.

Denzel Washington always delivers the goods in every role he plays and he is on fine form here. Chloë Grace Moretz is also a talented actress and she has a fair bit of experience with playing troubled characters. Marton Csokas is always a treat to watch on screen too as he has intensity and real screen presence. The film also stars Melissa Leo, Haley Bennett and Vladimir Kulich.

The trailer does its job of showing how handy McCall is in a crisis and introducing the main players. It unfolds in predictable fashion as McCall’s idyllic life is interrupted and he decides to become the action man again. A few action scenes are thrown in and he becomes friends with Teri while trying to save her. Moretz and Csokas don’t get much screen time though sadly and the trailer is also a bit too long.
It could’ve easily been cut by about twenty or thirty seconds. It feels like too many shots of McCall being a tough guy were thrown in to sell the movie. The audience only needs a few of them to believe in the character in the trailer. This is a minor flaw but it exposes a weakness in the screenplay which has turned McCall into a derivative Hollywood action man.

Edward Woodward’s version of McCall from the TV series was a gumshoe for hire. He preferred to use brains instead of brawn as he was a master strategist and tactician. Watching him figure out a clever strategy for taking out the bad guys was always enjoyable. Fuqua’s film seems to have stripped out all that interesting stuff and turned McCall into just another action man. It merely requires Washington to do another version of his Man on Fire vigilante character who was like the Punisher from Marvel comics. It’s a shame the story doesn’t stick closer to the source material which is more intriguing. The film has a good cast and director so it could turn out to be an enjoyable thriller. There is wasted potential here though and a missed opportunity to make the story and main character more compelling.

The Equalizer will be released on September 26th in the states and on October 10th in the UK. Check out the trailer and share your thoughts.

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