Sunday, September 28, 2014

"Thumbs-Up" Movie

Ut-oh. Things are about to get interesting...
Denzel Washington in The Equalizer
As is my policy with my favorite actor's films, I trundled off to the theater this weekend to see the new Denzel Washington movie, The Equalizer. Although some critics are bemoaning Denzel's recent forays into "aging action hero" roles, I enjoy watching anything he's in. In my opinion, he's that good.

The Equalizer was originally a 1980s television series with a British star playing mysterious hero Robert McCall. This modern film reboot brings vigilante justice and retribution to a whole new level, and it's not for the faint of heart. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, who teamed with Denzel Washington for this Ocscar-winning role in Training Day, the new-and-improved "Equalizer" Robert McCall is as righteous as Alonzo Harris was evil.

But oh, dear, how very messy the meting out of justly deserved vengeance can be. There is enough gruesome brutality in The Equalizer to merit an "R" rating for half a dozen movies. McCall plans his strikes with cool thinking and lightning speed, employing all types of everyday items in lethal applications. He then strolls through the wake of his considerable carnage with calm detachment, somewhat like a flesh-and-blood Terminator. He sustains a minor scratch or two while leaving one-man massacres behind. As I shielded my eyes at various violent moments, I thought how effective it would be for our nation's national security if we could drop a few real-life Robert McCalls into ISIS territory and just let them be creative for a week or two.

The Equalizer actually starts out somewhat slowly, a wise choice that gives characters and relationships space to build. There is even a bit of humor in the early scenes. It would be difficult to accept what unfolds later without learning our hero's human side. Robert McCall is saved from caricature by an enigmatic backstory that gives the viewer enough insight into his past to understand that he has suffered, loved, and lost--and is done with letting the bad guys win.

We all have our favorites entertainers. For me, Denzel Washington is without equal.