The TV version was gritty and violent but had the corny trappings of episodic mainstream television. A big part of its success was the casting of veteran British actor Edward Woodward. So how does the big screen version starring Denzel Washington stack up to the original? Stick with me.
A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by.
This cinematic Equalizer sticks very close to its TV roots. It's gritty and violent yes, but still has all the corny trappings of the small screen version. However, this didn't annoy me one bit. In fact, it made this R-rated action flick more enduring, at least for this Basementite. Everything is wrapped up in a neat little bow, the bad guys die violently, and good people walk away more or less unscathed. Roll credits.
Much like the TV version, a lot of The Equalizer's success can be attributed to Robert McCall and the actor playing him. Although he puts a blue collar spin on the former special agent, Denzel Washington holds true to the character of man who atones for his past sins by doing what he does best -- helping people. McCall was always a regretful killing machine on the TV show, and he's that thoughtful bad ass here too. I dig me heroes like that. A lot.
I'm glad they cast a performer in his 50s. I buy an older dude having the skills it takes to wipe out oodles of mobsters a lot more than some punk in his 20s or 30s. It worked on TV, and it works here too.
As for the action? It's great. As a kick boxer in training, I found the hand-to-hand combat brutally realistic. And I appreciated how McCall picked his foes off one by one or in small groups. It was also great seeing power tools and gardening instruments put to effective use during the final showdown.
What I appreciated the most was the depiction of a man coming to terms with who he is in this world. There's a life lesson among all the carnage. A small one to be sure, but it gives the flick some added weight.
And yeah, I love the set up for more Equalizer movies. The final scene was a nice tip of the hat to the TV show.
Gotta give The Equalizer a Good. It hit me right in the entertainment centre.