In 2001, director Antoine Fuqua had directed Denzel Washington in Training Day. History was made as Denzel was the second black actor to win Best Actor in a Leading Role, taking the reign from Sidney Poitier’s 1964 win. Progress for African Americans evolved as barriers were finally broken. Now Fuqua and Washington have teamed up again in action thriller The Equalizer almost thirteen years later.
We can imagine how the conversations went; a formal sit down at the table as they discuss the finer details. "How can this help me win an Oscar?" whilst a silece descends in the offices as Fuqua answers "It won't! But you are going to entertain the hell out of of your audience, being all cool, calm and collected." And with that Washington smiled and said, "hell yeah!"
In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, a man who believes he has put his Special Forces past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life, working in a hardware store. However when McCall meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young female escort under the control of brutal Russian gangsters, his conscience plays with him as he sees them abuse her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall’s demons come out of retirement and finds his desire to put the wrong things right. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer; the hero that everyone deserves.
Where there is a protagonist, there must be an antagonist. Marton Csokas as Teddy, the Russian rogue, handles this role like a pro. The stereotypes of Russian gangster tattoos, evil, murderous and petty kills makes the audience eager that he will eventually receive his comeuppance. Moretz is truly in a supporting, but makes the most of the little screen time she has.
Overall, this film belongs to Denzel Washington who deserves a huge welcome back to action, as he delivers 110% as Antoine Fuqua has pushed him to.
The Equalizer is out this Friday