It’s tough for Oscar winner Denzel Washington to be anything but handsome and charming—and his character in The Equalizer is both, but with a deadly edge that Washington pulls off beautifully. The movie is based on the Equalizer TV show from the ‘80s, starring suave British actor Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man). Same as the show, the protagonist’s name is Robert McCall, an ex-secret agent who helps regular folks right some nasty wrongs. We’ve seen most of this movie before, there is almost an action movie checklist at work here: the secret agent who has sworn off violence and thinks he’s retired, the evil mobsters who prey on his innocent friends, the hooker with a heart o’ gold, the fat sidekick who overcomes his fear and fights back—but everything is pulled off so well it’s still an enjoyable ride. Washington is a believable action hero, especially how his character evaluates every bad situation threat by threat and puts his plan into explosive action. The climax in a big box store is worth the price of admission, as McCall uses the tools at hand to kill most of the world’s Russian mafia one at a time. It’s slick, violent entertainment that stands up to any recent action movie.
Rating: ***½ out of 5 stars