Denzel Washington stars in this Antoine Fuqua-directed reboot of the 1980’s TV series. The movie starts well. We like Denzel. Everybody likes Denzel. And McCall is generally a nice guy. But he’s given up being the Equalizer since his wife was killed in a car bomb explosion meant for him. He works at a Home Depot-type store now selling paint thinner and all that type of stuff.
He befriends a young hooker and mentors a chubby co-worker who wants to be a security guard. But wouldn’t you know it, The hooker gets beat up by her Russian mafia-connected pimp and the co-worker’s mom is short on her protection payments to crooked cops, and her Mexican restaurant is set on fire. So what’s a nice guy like Bob McCall gonna do about it? Wage war on the Russians and the crooked cops, that’s what.
In this flick Denzel kills about a hundred guys. But the gimmick is he’s turned into McGuyver. He never uses a gun. Working at a Home Depot-type store, he learned how to kill with power tools, and blow torches, and nail guns and make all sorts of crazy concoctions that can kill bad guys. For an hour it was entertaining, but then something happened. McCall seems too invincible. He’s never caught off guard. Never makes a mistake. And pretty soon you start feeling sorry for the Mafia bubchicks. They haven’t got a prayer. It’s not an Equalized match at all. The Russians should have brought Liam Neeson in to fight on their side.
Might have been a good movie if they’d dialed it back a little. Like maybe Denzel could have got a nosebleed or something, or developed an allergy to paint thinner. At about the 90 minute mark it becomes cartoonish. And there was still a half hour to go. You know, the big finish—the big showdown at the Home Depot Corral. No surprises there. I guess the lesson is there can be such a thing as being too bad ass.