Movie Review: the Equalizer

Let me be honest. I’m a sucker for movies in which one person is smarter than everyone else. The first time I recognized my weakness was in a movie called Hopscotch with Walter Matthau. Let’s just say not only was that not even close to Walter Matthau’s best role, nobody else watched the movie but me. In spite of this, I loved it.

If you’re looking for romantic comedy or a movie that’s going to change your life, The Equalizer is not it. The Equalizer is an action movie like any of the Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone movies. These movies are clichéd. The bad guys are really, really bad. There are the good guys and then there are those innocent bystanders who stand around somewhat befuddled in the middle.

The two things that make this movie different from other action movies are Denzel Washington and Antonie Fuqua. Antonie Fuqua was also the director of Training Day. In my opinion, the direction of this movie was masterful. The movie was dark when it needed to be. It was fast-paced when it needed to be. It was also very stylized when it needed to be.

Denzel Washington is simply an actor at the top of his craft. We’ve seen this in Anthony Hopkins, Harrison Ford, Samuel L Jackson, Clint Eastwood and a few others. A real actor can suck you into the character even when the rest of the story is only so-so. Denzel Washington makes this guy believable. By the end of the movie, you wouldn’t be surprised if you walked into a Lowe’s or a Home Depot and found a mild-mannered stock boy who is really a highly trained CIA assassin.

In order to enjoy this movie, you have to sit back and relax. It takes a little while to unfold. Once the movie begins to unfold, you’re going to have to excuse the overused clichés. The good news is that this movie did not fall for the ridiculously stupid one-liners that we see in all of the Schwarzenegger movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger is somehow able to pull off these one-liners almost nobody else can. Denzel Washington has one of those lines and it works fabulously.

Then there is the cliché in which the bad guys are moving in to capture or kill our hero. They’re coming closer and closer. The suspense is growing bigger and bigger. Suddenly, we find out that our hero is not exactly where we thought he was. I gave the director a pass in spite of using this plot element not once but twice in the movie.

Finally, in all of these movies, you have a problem with the bad guys. How real do you want the bad guys to be? Maybe they should be so bad that they’re over the top and bigger than life? Or they could be just a little bit bad and become more realistic. I don’t know what the right answer is. The bad guys in this movie are basically Russian mobsters. This breaks from the recent trend in which everybody has to be an Islamic terrorist. So, I don’t have a problem these Russian mobsters. They are bad. They have no redeeming qualities.

This is a nice movie that came out in the fall because I don’t think it could’ve stood up to the summer blockbusters. All that being said, I think this movie is worth sitting down and enjoying. It’s clearly worth the price of admission. Sit back and enjoy.