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January 29 2015
The Equalizer: Vengeance Edition Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
25/9/201422/1/2015Village RoadshowAntoine Fuqua
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 7.1MA15+Denzel Washington

THE MOVIE
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Denzel Washington as McCall in The Equalizer.

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.

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ChloŽ Grace Moretz as child prostitute Teri.
Denzel Washington has to carry the film of course and he does a great job playing a man trying to have a "normal" life only to become drawn into the criminal underworld. Trying to hunt down McCall is Teddy who is played by New Zealand actor Marton Csokas and it's a brillant performance which almost steals the show so to speak.

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.

VIDEO
The Equalizer comes to Blu-Ray in the filmís original 2.40:1 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 encoding. It's fair to say however that this transfer didn't blow us away. In many respects this film, shot on digital camera, looks pretty gorgeous with vibrant colours, fine detail on close-up shots and even panoramic shots of the city (as can be seen below).

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Robert McCall having a work break.
Where this release does fall down in the video transfer is that there appears to be some heavy ringing artifacts in the darker scenes. If someone has a dark jacket on, and is moving, there is dark blue ring/halo effect where they were previously. This is quite pronounced, and distracting, in this release. Still, don't get me wrong this is certainly better quality then DVD, but it's certainly not a great looking Blu-Ray overall.

AUDIO
One aspect that can't be faulted is the stunning DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track on this Blu-Ray. Dialogue is always crystal clear while the action scenes sound wonderful with fantastic and aggressive use of surround sound channels. Indeed some of the final action sequences in the film have some of the best use of surround sound which we have heard for some time. Your sub-woofer will be given a great workout too in particular during explosions - with an exploding ship guaranteeing your room will shake.

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.

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Marton Csokas is great in The Equalizer.
EXTRAS
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.

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The city look absolutely gorgeous.
Children of the Night (5:23/HD): ChloŽ Grace Moretz plays a child prostitute/sex slave in this film and this featurette focuses on her portraying the role, but also how she spent time with the Children of the Night hotline (in America) to assist girls in the same situation as her character.

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.

OVERALL
The Equalizer is another great film with a solid story, great action sequences and some brilliant acting. This Vengeance Edition doesn't add anything to the film, but does have the Vengeance Mode Special Feature which fans may enjoy. Those looking to save a few dollars will be just as pleased with the standard edition.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
8/10
THE VIDEO
6/10
THE AUDIO
9/10
THE EXTRAS
5/10
OVERALL
7/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.