The Equalizer

Director: Antoine Fuqua (2014)

British TV series The Equalizer gets a full Hollywood make-over in this glossy and violent action thriller.

Even sillier than the original it’s now a patriotic vigilante fantasy about defending homely American values against imported Russian vices.

The late Edward Woodward is replaced by Denzil Washington as widowed ex-CIA agent Robert McCall .

Played by Washington McCall can’t help but be charismatically charming and an impressively mean physical presence.

Living quietly, assisting colleagues with their careers and being an all-round good egg, he even finds the time for a little song and dance routine.

He’s moved to help local prostitute Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) when she’s hospitalised by her Russian Pimp Slavi (David Meunier).

Armed only with the novels of Hemingway and Mark Twain, McCall visits the gangsters and attempts to buy her freedom.

They reject his offer, there’s some peculiar and unnecessary stuff with a stopwatch and it ends impressively badly for them.

So evil oligarch Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich)  sends over his badass fixer, the sharp suited and silver-tongued Teddy (Marton Csokas).

AsTeddy begins hunting down McCall with the help of corrupt cops, our hero jets off to see his former boss Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) to warn her of the violence to come.

There’s no real reason for this but it’s a handy excuse to include a helicopter; this sort of film has to have a helicopter. And a dockside gunfight. And really big explosions to stride heroically away from towards the camera.

Washington does give good stride.

Action scenes are deftly handled but a strong opening is squandered and plot-holes are scattered all about as it descends into silly brutality.

Director Antoine Fuqua once made the brilliant Training Day (also with Washington) but now lifts all Guy Ritchie’s slow motion action moves but without the same elan.

The bloody finale takes place in a hardware store. A venue that always signifies the honest, hardworking, independence of American men – and provide McCall with a variety of grisly weapons.

Eventually good-hearted Yanks overcome a wave of Russians, embrace redemption, education and self-reliance while wrapping themselves up in the stars and stripes.


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