Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Movie Review: “The Equalizer” 

   I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.

The Cast: 

Denzel Washington is one of the biggest names around and at 59 years old, he is showing that he still can pack the theater and deliver on the silver screen. Taking on the role of Robert McCall from the television series “The Equalizer,” he sells himself as a man dealing with loss, but a complete servant to his nature to do what’s right by helping people in need.

   Marton Csokas is the antagonist in the film playing a Russian enforcer, the kind called in when things have gotten really bad, and need to be permanently fixed. He also sells his role delivering a character that sends chills down your spins as you never know what he’s going tot do next….but you know it’s going to be bad.

   The interaction between these two was tense and very interesting as I watched them take a measure of each other, while I was taking a measure of them both trying to figure out the standard they were using for each other. It’s always interesting to see the cat and mouse game being played by two cats.

The Plot: 
   Robert MCall is a simple man that lives alone, goes to work, and likes to read books. He has something of a compulsive disorder, but he also has a big heart as he is always willing to help his fellow workers. With all that, there is certainly something more to him that lies just beneath the surface.

   Unable to sleep at night, he frequents a twenty-four hour diner where he regularly, but in a very controlled way, interacts with a local hooker called Teri. Always encouraging others, one night Teri breaks protocol to interact with Robert more profoundly. It’s here we learn a bit more about him and that he is a man suffering from the loss of his wife.

   While walking Teri home, a couple of Russian men intercept them and take Teri away. Robert continues his regimented lifestyle, but can’t shake the feeling that something bad has happened to Teri.

      One night when he goes to the diner, the bartender tells him that Teri is in the hospital and has been beaten up very badly. Robert goes to see her and extracts some information from one of her fellow associates about the exact nature of the business they are forced to be a part of. Robert decides to do something about it.

   What follows is a riveting and tense look at the other side of Robert, a side we are shown throughout the film, but not nearly as intense as what he is called on to do to extract Teri from her service to the Russian mob…by eliminating their entire East Coast hub.

The Verdict: 

   First, I gotta say that as a lifelong resident of Boston, it’s always exciting to see my city on the silver screen. Recognizing the places and noticing the way they film to make the city look bigger than it really is amuses me to no end.

   This film is very story driven and it slowly builds, but never seems to come to a head equal to the buildup. The action was very intense and meticulous and I enjoyed the attention to violent detail both for the hero of the film, and the villain.

   That said, this film could have been a two hour premier of a television series (sans some of the graphic nature of the violence) and that is due mostly to the overall pace of the film. I liked the fact that Robert’s exact military  and/or agency past was never revealed. We know he is good at what he does, perhaps even the very best as eluded to in a scene where it’s queued up like he needs help, but in actuality, he is simply looking for permission to unleash holy hell. 

   I very much enjoyed how every book Robert read was analogous to how he lived his life. Well, they only revealed one book and the plot of another, but both were exactly what and who he was…a knight living in a time where knights don’t exist anymore, and an old man that has to be true to his nature and face one go the greatest adversaries of his life…at a time when he thought such things were past him.

   Despite the feel that this film wasn’t as “big” as it could have been, instead focusing more on story and character development, it still killed three and a half cinnamon sticks, out of five, in my cup of tea…equating to a very good film.

Rating 3.5/5

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