Admittedly Denzel Washington isn't a favourite actor of mine. Don't ask me why, there's nothing that he's done that I think is terrible or off putting, but he hasn't been an actor I would rush out and see. In recent years though times have changed and he is quickly becoming an actor I admire. When I heard The Equalizer was coming to Blu-Ray I was keen to check it out in part due to ChloŽ Grace Moretz who we also enjoy.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington), is a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (ChloŽ Grace Moretz), who has been forced into prostitution he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall's desire for justice is reawakened.
Director Antoine Fuqua (whose previous works include Training Day, Shooter, Tears Of the Sun) is a master filmmaker and yet again he has proven his mettle with The Equalizer setting up some fantastic characters and stunning action sequences. With a runtime of 132 minutes the film never feels rushed and as a result you get to know, and start empathizing, with the characters.
Putting in one of her strongest performances of her career to date is ChloŽ Grace Moretz, an actress we admire, but who plays the teenage girl Teri who has been forced into prostitution and who, ultimately, is the catalyst for the events in the film. Unfortunately, and despite her top billing in the film, one of our biggest disappointments is the lack of screen time for the character. After the opening act of the film she goes missing and, in our mind, the film seems to lose some of it intrigue and humility with her absence. Indeed, Teri's backstory could have been a fascinating component of the film if it continued to unravel how this young girl was forced into the "industry".
While not without some flaws, The Equalizer remains an entertaining film that tells a great story, has fantastic characters and some great, if violent, action sequences. In fact, some of these action sequences are superbly crafted and a highlight of the film. As I mentioned at the top of this review Denzel Washington isn't one of our favourite actors, but he's quickly growing as a favourite due to films such as The Equalizer.
The only other audio track on this release is an English Audio Description track encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps which at least allows the audience to experience the wonderful use of surround sound during the fight sequences. When it comes to subtitles there are two subtitle tracks - English and English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired. We sampled the subtitles in several locations and were mostly accurate with only occasional shortening.
Upon starting up the Blu-Ray for The Equalizer several trailers will play including A Walk Among The Tombstones (2:33) and John Wick (2:26). Fortunately this release contains several other Special Features.
Vengeance Mode (22:58/HD): This bonus feature places behind the scenes video snippets throughout the film detailing the making of the film which some nice details. Strangely clips play before the upcoming scenes (so don't watch this mode before seeing the film at least once), but at least you can chapter skip to the Vengeance Mode footage which runs for over 22 minutes in total.
Inside the Equalizer (7:51/HD): A pretty EPKish styled piece which sells the story of the film more than providing any in-depth development details. Don't watch this before you see the film due to spoilers.
Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero (6:56/HD): This short featurette focuses on Denzel Washington and how the cast and crew enjoyed working with him. Sure, it's a little bit of back-patting, but a decent watch.
Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua (7:06/HD): This time it's the director who gets the praise with some discussion about creating such a ruthless character. Having worked with Denzel when he directed Training Day the pair had a previous relationship which shows.
One Man Army: Training and Fighting (6:40/HD): As the title suggests this featurette focuses on the combat throughout the film and how Denzel's character uses a range of weapons excluding guns.
Home Mart: Taking Care Of Business One Bolt At A Time (2:11/HD): This trailer for the film is done as a faux Hardware store ad for the company which the main character, Robert, works for. Be aware that this shows many of the best kills in the film so is pretty spoiler filled.
Photo Gallery (HD): A series of 52 images from the film are presented here including some behind the scenes shots.
Review By: Dave Warner