Cinematic Releases: The Equalizer

Fuqua and Washington re-team for this week's release of The Equalizer.

"Does that hurt? Here, let me
stick it in a little further."

Antoine Fuqua re-centers his focus as a director and delivers what is probably the best tv to film update ever brought to cinemas.The Equalizer is a modernized version of the television show that introduces a sleeker, more brutal interpretation of the character that fans loved for years.

An energized Fuqua leaves no trace of his last few mediocre years and slides back in to the comforts of being a great director with a movie that could cut heads with nearly any Michael Mann crime drama.The film looks great, features a stunning score and soundtrack, and is comparatively the best looking feature of Fuqua's career. The cinematography is easily the best of any movie he's worked on and looks great from beginning to end.

This version of The Equalizer does everything a television to film update should. He takes the known rendition of the Robert McCall character and brings him in to a new era with technological updates, scenes of hand to hand combat, creative kills, and extremely taut gun play scenarios. And they never try to make it funny or satirical. It's hard to say but The Equalizer quite possibly surpasses Fuqua's work on Training Day as we get an older, wiser director that knows exactly how to use perfectly framed scenes and a reinvigorated Denzel to their best effect.

"This is the scene where I say
'always bet on black'."
For years it's seemed like Denzel was playing the same character over and over again. With The Equalizer, he finally seems to break that trend and becomes a ruthless killer with a soft spot for abused hookers. His performance here is cold, callous, and absolutely mystifying as he moves beyond his go to roles and becomes something he hasn't been in years. He's once again on point as a killing machine. Its fun to watch this return to form for a man that starred in Man On Fire. He features distinct shades of the McCall originally played by Edward Woodward on tv, but brings a harder edged, dynamically charged renewal of the character. This will resonate with old fans of the show but will also interest a younger crowd that will crave a more merciless, tech savvy take on McCall.

Even with Denzel's mastery of McCall, another person nearly steals the spotlight. Marton Csoskas plays the villainous Teddy with tenacity, dark wit, and a callous nature that transcends the screen. He is evil incarnate and Csoskas makes sure to play it up for all its worth with a heinous performance as
"Do you find me attractive?"
a vicious Russian henchman with an appetite for blood. Teddy is undoubtedly one of the best villains of 2014 and makes The Equalizer even more fun to watch as Csoskas throws himself in to this portrayal with every ounce of self.

If you're looking for a great updated version of a television show, this is it. The Equalizer is entertaining from front to back and never loses focus of story or development. There is no trade off of here. All the scenes of savage violence serve the story and help move it along at a perfectly timed pace that just so happens to make use of some exceptionally great looking cinematography. Take a hint from me. See this movie. It's well worth the ticket.