Monday, September 29, 2014

Movie Review: "The Equalizer" (2014)

Movie"The Equalizer"
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes
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Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) lives a pretty basic life. He works at Home Mart, helps his coworkers, and meanders through his daily routine, finishing with tea at a local diner. Every night, there is a young girl at the diner named Teri (Chloƫ Grace Moretz), who engages Robert in small talk over whatever book he is reading. Teri is also a prostitute, brought to the US from Russia as part of the international sex trade. When her pimp beats her so bad it lands her in the ICU, Robert is ready to make things right. Robert makes an offer to her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier), to buy her out of the trade for $9,800 When Slavi refuse,s Robert kills Slavi and his men. Slavi wasn't just a low level pimp: he was the head of the east coast hub of the Russian mob. Vladamir Pushkin (Vladamir Kulich) send his specialist that goes by the name of Teddy (Marton Csokas) to hunt Robert down. What they don't know is that Robert has a past, and it may turn out he is the one hunting them.

Now, here's the real question: who is the bigger old guy badass, Liam Neeson or Denzel Washington?

This was a really good movie. Initially, the first marketing we saw for this film turned us off a bit. We didn't quite know what to expect because the trailers had both good and bad points. What we ended up with was another slow-burning game of cat and mouse, but this time, the hunter becomes the hunted as Denzel Washington kicks ass and takes names. His character, Robert McCall, is almost the antithesis of his character from "Training Day," where Washington played a crooked cop willing to stop at nothing to pay off his debts. Here, McCall is regimented in his routine, never really deviating from his set plans. There are almost obsessive compulsive components to his character, wrapping his teabags the same each time, doing things a certain number of times, etc. He's a rather lackluster character to begin with. Once he decides that Teri's beating is worth correcting, it was like a light switch, and he went from good to bad in less than a night. He becomes menacing enough to blow up buildings and walk into a club without weapons to take out whoever he felt was involved and necessary to eliminate. Though McCall is still technically murdering people (and we use the word "technically" quite loosely), he's killing bad people, people who disrespect their police badge, Russian mobsters, gangsters, etc. His murders aren't without cause, they are for the betterment of society, or, at least his local city. He's a vigilante knight in shining armor, though that armor is faded and soaked in blood. And it really helped that his character worked at (essentially) a Home Depot and knew it like the back of his hand. Where we he have been without knowing where the barbed wire and blow torches were?!

Denzel has been killing it lately (no pun intended), and it's great to see him teaming up with director Antoine Fuqua once again. Many critics will brush this movie off as trite and repetitive, and one could argue that it is. As with most movies lately, it's nothing earth-shattering or groundbreaking, in fact, it's nothing new even this month, coming out just weeks after "A Walk Among the Tombstones." I would love to see Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington team up to fight crime in a film, but I don't think it's in the cards for them anytime soon. We're getting pretty tired of seeing actors walking away from explosions, though, and this was one of the trite parts. We get it, it's been done a billion times, find a new shtick. The film is riddled with a lot of action stereotypes and cliches, but that didn't stop us from enjoying it quite thoroughly. Though it is heavy on the death, the bulk of the fighting is towards the middle to end of the film. Fuqua bides his time, building McCall's character up slowly, showing the difference between him and main mobster Teddy, who unlike McCall, has no soul and no emotional attachment to anything or anyone. Get in touch with your feelings, bro! We also should warn moviegoers that it is very, very bloody and violent, maybe even unnecessarily so. This, however, didn't stop McCall from finding interesting objects to kill people with throughout the movie's run-time.

If you're an action junkie, you will love this movie, especially if you're a Denzel Washington fan.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~58%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Splash"

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