Aith this ninth feature film, Antoine Fuqua finds Denzel Washington, thirteen years after the excellent Training Day (2001), which revealed the american film director and won the best actor Oscar to Denzel Washington. Unfortunately, Equalizer is far from the same result. It starts as an action movie and the avenger pretty simple, before losing the little credibility it has and to forget any notion of suspense.
From the american television series of the same name, broadcast in the United States on CBS between 1985 and 1989, the Equalizer tells the story of a secret service agent retired, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), who comes to the rescue of Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young prostitute. After it has been beaten, he will settle their account with their pimps. But he is not content to save only the young girl and decides to help other victims. He transforms himself into the avenger of the city, while the Russian mafia starts to search for her.
With a first part centered on the relationship of Robert with the people that surround it, the film is doing quite well. The character of Robert McCall is both endearing and mysterious. During the day he works in a warehouse of crafts ; on his free time, he helps a colleague to prepare a test to reach the safety of the store. In the evening he can’t sleep. He goes to a diner to read, drink tea and chat with Teri in which he gives advice on life.
His past as a secret agent (assumed since nothing will be revealed) made him manic, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), it stopwatch each of its actions. His thoroughness and his ability to analyze what surrounds remind us of the character of Sherlock Holmes. And when Robert anticipate its actions before a fight, the visual treatment is close to the recent film adaptations of the master of deduction by filmmaker Guy Ritchie. But Fuqua is having fun with slow-motion, zooms, and other effects of coarse to show the details often without interest. All the weapons and items that will be used by Robert to eliminate the men who attack him are justified, as the close-ups of the tattoos and jewelry worn by these men bring nothing. These action scenes lose in spontaneity and prove to be little exciting.
”Denzel Washington surprises in a record that he held for several years”
Rather than focusing on the character of a hero determined to rescue the young girl, the film is changing its character in the avenger, which will provide support to the oppressed. Teri is quickly set aside, and Robert must now get rid of the henchmen russians. It is a pity to see evaporate Chloë Grace Moretz after the first half-hour because it remains one of the only characters who moves and inspires empathy. We assist then to a succession of situations that are stereotyped almost parody (wicked Russian are covered in tattoos and have a heavy accent), and aggressive intervention which eventually get bored. Pictures that the american cinema had set aside for a while, but who make their return for a few years (Jack Reacher, Salt, Die Hard good day to die…). More the hero is never really challenged or pushed to its limits. In contrast to the works cited previously, there were too few scenes showing Robert hurt, blood or limping, which caused them to lose the little credibility that we can expect from this kind of film. Denzel Washington, is still very good, even if it does not surprise much in a record that he held for several years.
The film comes out all the same by the staging of a violence, pure and terrifying. A side Robert is of a great effectiveness when it comes to killing, as well with a knife as a corkscrew. On the other there is Teddy (Marton Csokas), the man in charge of finishing off with the avenger. To find it he will beat her up a Irish and strangle him with coldness and indifference a prostitute. Once again, we can better appreciate these quick scene, where the staging goes to the essential. After a final, admittedly rather good, where the soundtrack and the image are in perfect harmony, the movie ends without being able to really be passionate about.
• Realisation : Antoine Fuqua
• Screenplay : Richard Wenk
• Main actors : Denzel Washington, Chloë Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas, Haley Bennett, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman
• Country of origin : United States
• Released : OCTOBER 1, 2014
• Duration : 2h12mn
• Distributor : Sony Pictures Releasing France
• Synopsis : For McCall, the page was turned. It was thought to have finished with his mysterious past. But when he meets Teri, a young girl victim of gangsters Russian violent, it is impossible for him not to react. His thirst for justice wakes up and he comes out of his retirement to help him. McCall has not forgotten his talents once…
Now, if someone has a problem, if a victim is faced with insurmountable obstacles without anyone to turn to, McCall is there. It is the Equalizer…