THE EQUALIZER is the big screen remake of the 1980s TV show starring Edward Woodward as ex CIA agent Robert McCall who provides vigilante justice for the downtrodden. Denzel Washington stars as a buttoned up insomniac loner who befriends a hooker with a heart of gold (Chloe Grace Moretz - KICK ASS). When she gets beaten up by her Russian pimp, Robert tries to buy her out, and when this doesn't work goes on a violent revenge spree, revealing in turn that he is obviously a skilled pro killer (although not using guns, as in the show). The movie then degenerates into a classic action-packed killing spree - although more stylish and imaginative than most movies.
It's hard not to like any movie starring Denzel Washington and Chloe Grace Moretz embraces an older and gritty role. Director Antoine Fuqua certainly has a sure and compelling visual style and as his TRAINING DAY proved, he knows how to build and sustain tension. But the movie is fatally undercut by its sub TAXI DRIVER cliche of a young imperilled sex worker and its mid-point descent into violence. The problem is that that violence doesn't have the emotional heft, or character development of the superb TRAINING DAY. In other words, what we have here is a superior stylish version of a Tony Scott movie. I also feel that the movie could have lost a good half hour of its running time.
THE EQUALIZER has a running time of 132 minutes and is rated R. The movie played Toronto 2015 and is on global release.