Dir: Antoine Fuqua, 2014
This review is of the uncut version
Is this a worthy film adaptation of a classic TV series or a stomping on the legacy of it?
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a warehouse worker with a secretive past.
A man of order and discipline, McCall frequents a local coffee shop where he sits alone and reads.
One night, McCall meets an underage prostitute, Alina (Chloe Grace Moretz) at the shop and they begin talking.
However, he witnesses the girl being beaten unconscious by her pimp and meets with the Russian head of the prostitution ring.
He offers to buy the girl from them but they reject the offer and attack him.
But McCall is ex-black ops and swiftly dispatches the mob.
Becoming a vigilante, he uses his skills to right the wrongs while trying to save his own life from Russian kingpins.
I’ll hold my hand up. I didn’t think for one second that it would work.
Anybody of a certain age will undoubtedly remember The Equalizer in its original incarnation as the late night TV series.
Starring Edward Woodward as an English ex-secret service operative working in America, the series differs significantly from its cinema counterpart.
So, why didn’t I think it would work?
As someone who can remember the show, I am able to recall the main character rather well.
Edward Woodward is English. He played an English person. Woodward was also white.
To me, Robert McCall was white, English and ageing. Denzel Washington is none of that.
That’s why I didn’t think it would work. It’s nothing to do with racism. I’m not racist.
But, boy, was I wrong!
Washington is perfect as McCall. He’s even better than Edward Woodward.
Cool, calm and a real badass, Washington IS the Equalizer.
It takes a bit of time to get going, but, when it does, hold on tight.
The action sequences are astounding. Blood pumping, thrill-a-minute excitement.
I can’t believe I had reservations about it. Fuqua has made a masterpiece of action.
Incredibly inventive, McCall uses anything at hand to subdue an assailant; from corkscrews to garden appliances, it’s all here in visceral detail.
For its release in the UK, the distributors, Sony Pictures, wanted a ’15’ certificate.
The BBFC offered them an uncut ’18’ rating so a compromise was reached where the most violent scenes would be trimmed, including a close up shot of a corkscrew protruding through someone’s jaw.
With the cuts made, The Equalizer was green lighted with its desired ’15’. The DVD and Blu Ray releases were cut in line with the cinema version. Don’t watch this version.
Honestly, I can’t praise the film enough.
It’s rare to see action films of this calibre. I haven’t had as much fun with an action film since Commando thirty years earlier.
Go out and watch it. You won’t be disappointed.