Well, I didn’t go into this film with any expectations except for Denzel Washington kicking ass. I don’t need an Oscar worthy performance; I already have that in Flight. And I got what I want from the film…mostly. So the movie’s a win for me.
There’s stuff to complain about from a critical perspective, I suppose. I mean, it’s a pretty standard story, with many, many clichés. The ‘old man is former killing expert back in business’ thing really took off after Taken, but it’s getting just a tad stale. Characters were all pretty dull and stereotypical. And the trailer had already spoiled most of the film, so the early segments where they showed a Peaceful!Denzel felt pointless, although it’s really just to set the scene.
I did like the film for the most part, with decent direction to build suspense, but it’s all quite formulaic. I can basically predict how each scene unfolds without thinking too much about it. The foreshadowing was just terrible, especially with the book titles and plots bashing you on the head with what’s coming next. Also, there was a lot of product placement, including Sony products in a Sony film. It was getting into Transformers territory at one point, and that just annoys me.
I would have liked a longer fight scene with Teddy, but a gruesome, sudden end seems more fitting for Denzel’s character. And hell, I think that emphasises just how good Robert is at his job. It’s rare to see a film dare to not have a final death fight with the key villain, so props to the scriptwriters and director.
It really becomes a film about Robert and not Alina, and I’m okay with that, even if Chloe Grace Moretz’s decent performance feels a little wasted as a result. She was a plot device to get him going again, which also means that middle bit where he ‘asks for permission’ from his former CIA boss seems pretty pointless. I guess it was for a bit of character development, but for this sort of film, I think you might as well just forego that aspect and get on with the action.
The only complaints I have about the action is the slow motion tanker explosion, which was CGI-ed way too much and feels irrelevant. Also, Teddy’s death scene was also slowed down way too much. I would also have preferred not to have music during the big fight scene, because as Bourne proved, the scene’s intensity can make up for the lack of a soundtrack, even making it seem more intense. Otherwise, it feels like a Bourne film without all the gritty shaky cam work, given how Robert just straight up owns the shit out of those goons.
Conclusion? The Equalizer is an enjoyable thriller slash action film. So long as they don’t gun for a sequel, I’m cool.