Opening in theaters this weekend is The Equalizer – the latest collaboration between Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua. The last time Washington and Fuqua worked on a movie together, 2001’s Training Day, Washington took home the Academy Award for Best Actor. While The Equalizer may not be remembered come award show season, there is one thing you can be sure of; Washington is probably going to kick someone’s ass in this movie while looking and sounding really cool in the process.
Therein lies the genius of the Denzel action movie. No matter the backstory- alcoholic bodyguard with a deathwish, crooked cop trying to avoid the mob, vigilante that plays by his own rules, savage negotiator matching wits with a criminal mastermind, etc.- Denzel only has to play Denzel… and we’re cool with that.
Washington is in the same league as Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Morgan Freeman. We already know we like you… just do you. We’re going to watch it and tell our friends to watch it.
What’s It About: A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has 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 – he has to help her.
Should You See It: Yes. Granted, I told you to see This Is Where I Leave You and it got PANNED, so hopefully I can redeem myself here. Denzel’s IMDB page reads like a pizza menu. Even if it’s not the best pizza you’ve ever had, it’s still really good. I’m sure The Equalizer fits perfectly into that metaphor. Arguably, Denzel’s best roles are not action movies even though that’s what he has done the most of. His work in Glory and He Got Game are, in my opinion, his finest work. His role as Robert McCall in The Equalizer probably won’t be on par with his performance of Jake Shuttlesworth, but it doesn’t need to be. When Washington is in the zone (which he clearly is here), he is doing it better than anyone else on the block – Stallone, Wahlberg, Neeson, Cruise, Willis, etc.
Judge For Yourself: