Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    At the end of it all, I found this movie very boring. The story is old as dirt. The plot is so obvious that as soon as characters appear on screen one can identify, "He'll be killed," "She'll be kidnapped and used as bait," "Something bad's gonna happen to him," and my all-time favorite, "He's the innocent, likable guy introduced early then ignored for 90 minutes (so we'll forget about him), only to have him turn up as a hostage in the big showdown." And every prediction is spot-on.

    Example of bad writing: Two thugs walking up to a door. The last thing Thug 2 says to Thug 1 as they approach the door, "Whatever you do, don't call him Little John." Very next shot, inside the door, Thug 1 starts talking smack... and guess what he does? When the setup is literally 5 seconds earlier, we all see it coming. Give us the setup in a different location, maybe? Or at least disguise the setup amidst a longer, funny/entertaining conversation? Nope, just lay out that one line setup, then walk on in. We the viewers will just deal with it.

    Denzel's character is likable. I mean, insanely likable. Beyond the depth of my willful suspension of disbelief likable. He's always friendly, always in a good mood, always smiling. He's ecstatic just to be alive. Everyone loves being near him. He's never "just a guy." He's more helpful than a college professor, more inspirational than a priest, more motivational that a fitness instructor. Every scene in his workplace (which is visited repeatedly throughout the movie) includes no less than 2 background guys smiling giddily when Denzel arrives to work, and laughing loud at every word Denzel speaks. Going to work at Home Depot - sorry, "Home Mart" - surely isn't like that in real life.

    But there's more to Denzel, isn't there? Who is this guy? Where'd he come from? Who knows? We'll never know. But clearly he's bad-ass. More moves than Shakira and deadlier than Seal Team Six. He seems to know how to handle any situation and any number of attackers - just because. No reason; he's just awesome. If you ever saw the classic comedy PLANET TERROR, just think of the scene, "Give him the gun. Give him all the guns." Because, ya know, he's just so bad-ass for no logical reason.

    The bad guy was awesome. While Denzel's fight scenes were a lot of super-close blurry shots, the few scenes where the Bad Guy establishes his badness were rather good, very tense, very violent and cringe-worthy.

    THE EQUALIZER has all latest bells and whistles with music, atmosphere, and build-up. The one female lead is developed nicely (especially compared to every other innocent victim who may as well have stepped out of Little House On The Prairie). Much of the movie is very tense, and keeps you hanging on to each scene, waiting to see what happens next. But ultimately, we all know Denzel will kick ass, so it's all just a waiting game. It felt very long. The wait is made so much worse when the viewer knows exactly what's coming. There's just no surprises here. You've seen this movie 500 times, I'm sure.

    Oh yeah, and Denzel knows everything. He appears magically inside buildings and rooms where one shouldn't be able to sneak in. He has cell phone numbers one shouldn't have access to - the characters even comment on it, "How the hell did you get that number?!" No answer. Doesn't matter. It's a movie. Just turn off your brain and enjoy the tension building. How does Denzel know when the bad guys will appear at a time and place, so he can intercept them in the night? Don't know, doesn't matter, I guess. How does Denzel sneak into a closet-sized room without the occupant noticing? How does Denzel have time to set up his trap, rig wires, etc, without anyone seeing this work being done? Who cares, the resulting deaths are cool.

    Go to sleep. Tune out. Enjoy. But don't expect to take this movie with you. You'll have forgotten it by the time you leave the parking lot.