Review of "The Equalizer": Mediocre, and NOT for Kids.
This movie has few objective creative merits. It's a very formulaic movie very much in the vein of Washington's "Man on Fire": Retired Former CIA/Special Forces killing machine runs afoul of local Russian mafia underworld scum, and proceeds to kill all of them, to the last.
As a formulaic genre, it's hard to do wrong. But this one got it a bit wrong. Action was somewhat infrequent, but with over-the-top levels of brutality and gore. Pacing was slow and staccato. And, the baddies here pose no threat or challenge. McCall (Denzel Washington's character) wades through them unarmed, and indeed makes no attempt to arm himself, and with absolute confidence. He has the bad guys utterly outclassed. By a staggeringly large margin. It takes until the final scene before anyone gets a good shot in.
As an action movie, the action proved rather infrequent, sporadic and unsatisfying, though more than making up for it in sheer brutality and gore. It's all or nothing: Total calm, or hyper violence. Weapons tended to be improvised: Washington's character doesn't actually touch a firearm throughout, save for a brief moment disarming a thug; rather, improvisation is key: as noted in other reviews: a shot-glass thrust through an eye socket; a barbed wire garrote, tree-trimming pruning shears thrust through a neck like a spear, a cork-screw thrust up through a baddie's chin and visible in his mouth, a power-drill to the nape of the neck delivered from behind; The movie's two kingpins are respectively dispatched with a slow succession of pneumatic nail-gun shots, and electrocuted in the shower. The after-effects thereof are more visible and palpable than in most "shoot-em-ups", with thugs dying very slow gruesome deaths, or reviewing photos of the aftermath in trying to track down Washington's character. One thug is beaten to death by the chief antagonist, who later terrorizes and interrogates a prostitute before graphically strangling her to death… over her pleading, a scene that oddly lacked the emotional resonance expected. There is much non-lethal violence as well.
While no nudity was present, there was more than enough profanity all around: loads of F-bombs, and occasional, graphic discussion of the the Russian mafia pimp's business, and a number of their descriptive and insulting comments with regard to the nature of the prostitutes' work was far beyond any language that any child should hear: such as one Russian pimp denying knowing a particular prostitute, insisting, "but I'm sure she's great at ____ing ____." The entire scene, the most violent in the movie, is rife with similar references to the quality of the prostitutes' genitals, "____y", and mention of a particular lady's youth permitting her to be marketed as a "virgin." This crassness is probably the worst material in the movie: out of bounds for any child.
As noted elsewhere, the movie is paced very slowly, with various minor incidents in McCall's work & social life occupying a great deal of screen time: lunchtime conversations, dinners at a local diner, a company softball game, etc. There are also two other minor story arcs in which McCall handles some other minor bad guys: A robber who held up the home improvement store where he works, and two corrupt police officers running a protection money racket.
This title contains:
Violence & scariness