Archive for the ‘Action’ Category

The Equalizer (2014)

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

This film is too busy offering testament to actor Denzel Washington’s virility to function properly as a thriller, which conventionally depends on the hero’s vulnerability. Russian goons, the usual tatted, muscled-up monsters, come after Washington’s McCall, who dispatches them with a saintly ease that would be offensive if it weren’t deeply ludicrous and, eventually, dull. Even Marton Csokas, as the film’s proper big bad, is unable to land any blow to McCall apart from the passing, inadvertent stray bullet that yields nothing, of course, but a flesh wound. The Equalizer has two shrewd touches: It’s extraordinarily violent for our hypocritically bloodless faux-R-rating times; and it occasionally suggests that it correctly understands McCall to be every bit as insane and sadistic as any of the villains. The first act implies that McCall takes it upon himself to save Chloë Grace Moretz because he’s OCD and sexually stifled, at the mercy of a banal work schedule and holier-than-thou reading regiment that’s clearly intended to put other desires at bay (killing and sex in these films are the same thing; Norman Mailer might approve). Washington, to his credit, doesn’t sentimentalize McCall, but why would he? He’s too deeply in love with himself to deem such softening necessary. (Director: Antoine Fuqua. Writer: Richard Wenk. Starring: Denzel Washington, Marton Czokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour.)