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The Equalizer: Review

The Equalizer: Review

Starring Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Haley Bennett, Marton Csokas (Rated MA 131 min).

Believing he had left his mysterious turbulent past behind him for the quiet life, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) goes against his better judgement recalling a range of secretive military techniques in order to help a teenage girl escape the clutches of Russian gangsters.

Based on the 80s television series starring the late Edward Woodward, this is a graphically violent exploitation of the senses where anything goes. The stern Washington is always good value, however while not complete rubbish, the further this grisly film goes the more tired it becomes. Think, Urban Rambo. Key moments are orchestrated massacre scenes, they even wear thin. The fact McCall works in a hardware store where he can handpick an array of tools doubling as killing instruments makes his onslaught against the equally cruel Russians a little easier.

Turning 60 this year, the distinguished Washington powers through the role with slight of hand and consummate grace. Intense scenes when sizing up the situations before unleashing a series of inflicting death moves are actually well filmed slow motion to spinning multiple camera shots. The use of a cork screw in one particular moment is immediate shock value. Plot holes as big as the grand canyon are incredibly dumb, police seem to rarely respond to gunfire or explosions, not to mention logistically taking on a soviet underbelly with hand tools.

As always, Chloe Grace Moretz (Carrie, 500 Days of Summer) is gleaming, acting beyond her years as Teri, the young girl under control of pimps who think nothing of abusing their own. She is the reason behind McCall turning stealth, getting to know her during his middle of the night downtown cafe visits when suffering from insomnia. The pair become unlikely friends over coffee and books.

A former colleague of McCall, Melissa Leo appears all too briefly as a character of high importance. Australia’s own Marton Csokas plays the cold-blooded, smooth-talking Russian honcho rolling in taking care of business when McCall single-handedly begins to wipe out his once impenetrable gangsters.

Overlong, The Equalizer certainly still contains a few moments of effectiveness with pounding music accentuating the drama.

Shane A. Bassett

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