Tuesday 23 September 2014

The Equalizer review

The Equalizer (15/R, 132 mins)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Shave half an hour off this sporadically fun but often flabby thriller and you might well have the lean and mean action machine it ought to be, instead of the overegged, cheese-inflected pudding that it sometimes is. Based loosely on the old Edward Woodward TV show, Denzel Washington is Robert McCall, a seemingly saintly loner who works in a hardware store, never sleeps, and likes to help anyone and everyone. But it’s clear he’s hiding a mysterious past, and the catalyst for stirring this up is when a young girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) is beaten up by her pimp, taking McCall into a world of Russian mobsters who want him dead. A measured, deliberate opening is stretched to the point where we’re itching for the vengeance we know is coming, and when it does it’s certainly visceral and fleetingly satisfying. We’re signing up to see Washington battering everyone in sight, and even if too often all we see is the aftermath, he’s a monumental presence, dead-calm and dangerous as the silent protector. But there’s an awful lot of movie padded around these bones, and The Equalizer lumbers when it should sizzle and the finale, though at times exciting, borders on the interminable.

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