Bob (Denzel Washington) seems like an ordinary guy living a quiet life; by day he works in a huge home store, and by night he sits in a diner drinking tea. When he finds out more about Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), the young woman who he often chats to in the diner, he realises that he has to help her get out of her ultra-violent situation.
The Equaliser is based on the 1980s US TV show of the same name, and brings the character into the present day. Denzel Washington plays Bob as a man whose life runs on precision and order. Washington does fine in the role, before the film descends into the super silly, that is. Chloe Grace Moretz plays another young woman who has been forced to grow up ahead of her time. The actress has done this a million times before, so we know she can do both cagey and vulnerable. The rest of the cast is made up of Johnny Skourtis, Haley Bennett and Marton Csokas, with cameos from Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.
The story, written by Richard Wenk, stars well enough and the scenes with Moretz and Washington in the diner are a joy to watch. When the film takes a turn for the action packed, however, it also takes a turn for the super silly, with clichéd visual devices and Washington walking away from more than one explosion – as is a ‘cool guy’s’ wont. The final sequence takes place in the home store, which feels incredibly familiar; like a mix of Mr and Mrs Smith, and Home Alone. Sigh.
As director, Antoine Fuqua carries on his tradition of making over the top action movies that don’t make a lot of sense. The story gets so garbled and messy here that it is often hard to remember what Bob is fighting for and why. Washington’s performance is just engaging enough that we are on his side, but the action sequences are dragged out and dark (most of them take place at night), with little to commend them.
The Equaliser is a silly and over the top action movie, which lacks a coherent plot but makes up for it with lots and lots of explosions. Washington and Moretz do well with what they are given, but even they can’t save this cliché-ridden mess. We have seen this movie before, just with different actors, go and watch a Bourne movie again. Or maybe a Mission: Impossible one…