The Equalizer ****

 Run Time: 122mins           Cert: 12A
Synopsis: McCall (Denzel Washington) is a former black ops commando who faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.
Based on the hit 80’s TV series staring Edward Woodward. This latest big screen version of a show reunites Director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington, since the Oscar winning drama Training Day. This is also apparently the highest tested film in Sony’s history.
Even although it is based on that property there is very little that is similar, except for the name and the concept. In essence it comes across as a Deathwish meets Man On Fire thriller, thankfully it is more the latter.
The film starts extremely slowly nothing really happens for the first 30 mins, but this works well as the audience learns more about McCall and his mundane lifestyle. It is only when Moretz’s young hooker befriends McCall and he begins to see what she is going through that movie begins to unravel and pick up pace to become more action packed.
These scenes are impressively choreographed with hand-to-hand scenes, with very little gunplay interaction at all. However these sequences are extremely brutal and not for the faint of heart. As the film goes along the body count increases dramatically with all sorts of weapons from nail guns to corkscrews. There is no silly cartoonish fight scenes here.

Even although Marton Czokas’ impressive performance as a brutal mob fixer is quite intimidating as a villain he is more a henchman to the Russian mob than a bad guy with his own alterior motives. What makes this a problem is that McCall appears to be superhuman, in that he is able to anticipate any attack before it happens. Which makes the protagonist versus antagonist battle very one sided, when it should have been either reversed or made more equal.
Another problem is even although Moretz is fantastic in the film, her character is very underdeveloped and completely forgotten about in the second act.
These are minor problems in what is a tense action packed thriller. Washington and Fuqua show that Training Day was no fluke. It will be interesting to see if the magic continues on their next project a remake of The Magnificent Seven.
Reviewed by Paul Logan

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