Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) talks about what makes The Equalizer (Denzel Washington) different from other action movie heroes. The name comes from how he spends his days as a "regular Joe", but uses hand-to-hand combat in order to fight his way through legions of bad guys "levelling the playing field". Producer Todd Black (A Knight's Tale, The Pursuit of Happiness) goes on to explain The Equalizer's skill set. He uses impeccable awareness of his surroundings to manipulate his environment into a weapon - this leads to stunt coordinator Keith Woulard discussing Washington's desire to make the fight scenes "dirty and gritty, but he want[ed] it smart".
Continue: The Equalizer - Featurette and Clip
Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs for a peaceful life on his own to live out the rest of his days. He is a retired black ops commando and, unfortunately for him, that part of his life is not over - merely laying dormant. After meeting a young girl named Teri and seeing her trapped in a circle of abuse and danger within what appears to be a gang of pimps, he vows to help her. However, after taking them down with an extraordinary amount of grace and dexterity, he discovers that they are in fact part of the powerful Russian mafia who are hellbent on killing him. The odds aren't looking good for McCall, whose sense of justice and responsibility has been quickly reignited, but when it really comes down to it, it's difficult to tell who should be afraid of whom.
Continue: The Equalizer Trailer
Blunt and simplistic, there's not a moment in this thriller that feels inspired by anything other than criminal TV shows. This means that everything on-screen feels comfortably familiar, so we happily go along with the story even as it gets increasingly ridiculous. But just a bit of complexity might have helped us care about what happens.
When his daughter Samantha is found murdered in Los Angeles, military contractor Lex is called back from the front lines to claim her body. But after flying in from the Middle East, he discovers that it's not her. Local police Detective Klein (Patric) is more interested in investigating Lex than finding out what really happened to Samantha, so Lex starts to look into things himself. First, he checks out Samantha's shifty boss (Caan). Then, with the help of a friend (Elizabeth), he tracks down her boyfriend Ricky (Messner) and eventually finds Samantha herself (Ordway). And now there's a whole new set of problems.
Writer-director Miller tells this story as if it's a pilot episode for a cop series, eliminating any ambiguity by continually reminding us who's good and bad. As a result, there isn't a single surprise along the way, action scenes are predictable and the drama feels soapy and silly. It's not like there aren't strong themes gurgling under the surface, but none of the actors bother to break through. Fairbrass is such a meathead that we wonder how he could possibly be an elite tactical soldier, while Caan seems to be channelling vicious-thug-mode Robert DeNiro. At least he and Patric seem to be having some fun with their roles.
Continue reading: The Outsider Review
David Mamet's latest project is far from conventional fare, and ultimately that works in his favor. From the opening scene, where two soldiers pursue each other through a jungle, Mamet keeps us guessing. What kind of movie are we watching? Within about 10 minutes, the bones of the story are made clear: the president's daughter (Kristen Bell) has been kidnapped from her dorm room, and the Secret Service pulls out all the stops to get her back. That includes recruiting special operations soldier Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), an uncannily capable military man who's as intuitive with people and motives as he is skilled with weapons.
Continue reading: Spartan Review
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Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) talks about what makes The Equalizer (Denzel...
Robert McCall has a modest job at a hardware store in Boston where he longs...
Blunt and simplistic, there's not a moment in this thriller that feels inspired by anything...
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