‘The Equalizer,’ loosely based on the TV series from the '80s starring Edward Woodward, reunites ‘Training Day’ director Antoine Fuqua and actor Denzel Washington in a hard-boiled crime/revenge thriller in the tradition of ‘Death Wish,’ ‘Walking Tall’ and even ‘Punisher.’ Billed as the first must-see movie this fall, ‘The Equalizer’ delivers the goods and satisfies, giving us an action-packed and blood-drenched thrill ride well worth watching.
While Woodward’s Robert McCall was utilized by the ‘Agency’ to aid common people as a means of atonement for past sins, Denzel’s McCall is a former black ops agent now happily working for Home Depot (rather, ‘Home Mart’) who had put his past life behind him (sounds familiar? see ‘The November Man’). Not surprisingly, he finds himself back in action after he befriends Alina, a young aspiring singer (Chloё Grace Moretz) forced into prostitution at a young age by the Russian mafia, and had to free her simply because, in the words of Edmund Burke, “the only necessary thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” McCall stirs up a hornets’ nest when he unknowingly 'took out' the eastern hub of the Russian mob controlled by an oligarch named Vladimir Pushkin (interesting, it rhymes with "Putin") in under thirty seconds by his watch, and the ensuing cat-and-mouse chase is on.
‘The Equalizer’ veered close to being just another forgettable potboiler, but it managed to avoid that by virtue of its climactic scene in which McCall faced off against the movie’s baddie, Teddy (Marton Csokas), an ex-Spetsnaz soldier and problem-solver sent to ‘clean up’ the mess created by McCall. The scene in question takes place inside ‘Home Mart’ and could easily have been used in the next installment of ‘Home Alone,’ if they ever decide to make an R-rated version.