Loosely (very loosely) based on the 80's TV series, The Equalizer really is yet another excuse to have Denzel Washington pretending to be a real everyday guy with a boring life while simultaneously being a one-man-army prone to killing bad guys in badass ways.
In a weird way, this works more like a prequel to the series as Washington comes to realise, through what happens in this movie, that he can use his talents and his CIA contacts to solve seemingly unsolvable problems random people are faced with. In this instance, he takes it upon himself to protect a young prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) from some Russian mobsters. The man's life, which consists of working at Home Depot, reading classic novels, taking tea very seriously, motivating people to lose weight in order to become security guards, all the good stuff, goes from a dullfest to... basically him becoming Batman and taking people out in various creative ways. For one thing, he times the fights he gets into, as if he's competing against himself, constantly trying to beat his own record. He's also never shy about killing dudes in surprisingly gory fashion, whether it's knifing them through the jaw, shoving something pointy through their eyes or impaling them using whatever tools happen to be nearby, anything goes.
Even Batman wouldn't go that far.
Though the film was sold as an action thriller, the action itself doesn't start until a good half hour into it. Luckily, when it does it's legitimately fun. Ridiculous, granted, but fun nonetheless. A main villain is soon introduced and although Marton Csokas always does a good job when trying to look intimidating, it's soon quite clear he's no match for Denzel Washington and he fails to be convincing as a genuine threat to the main character. The film itself is pretty by-numbers as The Equalizer's cool unique premise is barely there at all and we're left with just another run-of-the-mill action thriller in the vein of whatever Liam Neeson's been up to over the past few years. The movie is also let down by an ending more akin to Home Alone than anything else as our kickass super-man somehow finds the time in between punch-outs to rig a DIY supermarket with all sorts of death traps. The few slo-mo moments we get are used to absurd effect and don't exactly help the film sustain that serious, moody tone it's going for.
While the film itself is hardly anything special, The Equalizer boasts some solid performances, entertaining action sequences and random flashes of violence and gore. It's an enjoyable throwaway movie with some good moments and some very silly ones as well.
Likeable but forgettable.