The Equalizer is the classic tale of the strong and silent type of guy who’s minding his own business until some dipshit pisses him off and all hell breaks loose. This story is nothing new, but you can still have fun with it.
The film sets up its story longer than your typical action blockbuster film. Denzel Washington makes it worthwhile though. He manages to add more depth than the script gave him, making McCall sympathetic even though he has a broken moral compass.
The film gives us a glimpse of what he’s capable of. The results are gory but they’re entertaining enough action sequences where you find out how anything can be a weapon to a skilled killer.
But instead of indulging audiences and doing what it’s supposed to do, the Equalizer becomes an overlong origins story with a thinly stretched narrative filled with caricatures.
The threadbare plot is padded with unnecessary subplots. McCall eventually becomes a merciless social justice warrior, but with Batman’s fighting skills against run-of-the-mill thugs, there’s no challenge.
The villain is mostly useless. Martin Csokas – despite playing the cliche Russian psychopath – is a menacing but underused nemesis. Teddy has a penchant for twisted interrogations, but when the showdown finally comes around, he’s doesn’t do anything dastardly except to snarl.
This problem pretty much permeates throughout the film. The Equalizer has bloody action scenes but ends with a lackluster showdown, introduces a stereotypical yet promising villain but gives him nothing interesting to do, and tries to create a hyper-stylized origins story but doesn’t have its own flair.
In short, The Equalizer is an average offering in the Badass grandpa themed action genre. You can easily swap Denzel Washington with Liam Neeson.
Still, Denzel Washington makes his role count and carries the movie well. If you’re looking for a popcorn Washington flick, then you’re all set.
The Equalizer delivers popcorn entertainment as long as you're only looking for a disposable Denzel Washington action flick.