Friday, 26 September 2014
REVIEW: THE EQUALIZER
131 Minutes. Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas, Bill Pullman & Melissa Leo. Director: Antoine Fuqua.
Seconds out! They say all men are created equal...until Denzel shows them whose boss! From 'Mississippi Masala' to 'Philadelphia', Washington is one of todays best actors and greatest of all time. Capital like D.C. and still reaching heights today. Between all the 'Unstoppable' and '2 Gun' action, the man who has played and portrayed 'Malcolm X' and Rubin 'The Hurricane' Carter, still soars at Academy level with trips like 'Flight'. Now he re-up, teams up with the director who ring sided his Oscar, one, two combo of a bad cop played so, damn good in his Best Actor 'Training Day' graduation. Together Washington and Fuqua show the man who once played a boxer is still dancing at sixty like Ali with a hurricane of bee stinging action that floats between the post blockbuster, pre-Oscar season of Hollywood that is usually reserved for boring thrillers and unfunny comedies. Matter of fact the actor that takes what would normally be straight to DVD action fodder if landed on a lesser actors table, and turns it into one old fashioned thrilling film night shows he's more than still the man that's still got it. Still a 'Man On Fire' with the director that brought the best out of him like the 'Mo Better Blues' of 'Inside Man' Spike Lee showing 'He Got Game', Washington and Fuqua form his new actor/director combo since the tragic passing of 'The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3' and 'Deja Vu' director Tony Scott. Together again after giving rookie cop Ethan Hawke one hell of a first day this heaven sent partnership show they are still all chess no checkers.
With one eye on the old CBS show 'The Equalizer' from the eighties starring Edward Woodward, Antoine and Denzel give us the perfect 90's thriller in this new millenium, set to a beautiful but bleak backdrop of the brilliant city of Boston like Affleck films. Playing an ex Black Ops soldier responding to the vigilante call of duty to the modern man in warfare and gone girls, Washington lends a helping, fast combat hand to those in need, behind his shop front at Home Depot. This film doing for the hardware store business what Ben Stiller's 'The Watch' did for an extended commercial for Costco, but boy does it make for a brilliant backdrop for a formidable finale, with all the tools...literally. Today these warehouses of business are for action films, what running upstairs is for the horror genre, no matter how many times you 'Scream' for them not to...and just wait until they kill the lights and make it rain without a cloud in the sky...oh how simple and sublime Hollywood special effects can get, especially on a budget. Still behind all the 'Book Of Eli' and 'Safe House' hand to hand combat, that has been as much a calling card to middle-aged Washington, as his sudden single tear, tearing through restraint emotion, there's more. The Marvin Gaye of acting shows so much more soul. Denzel can do more with one gesture that years of choreographing couldn't measure. Now for every cool as hell, turning the gun on you slight of hand, there's a heaven sent tribute to a late wife in a split second that seems all to raw to not be real. Even if there's a quick and dead darkness that lies behind the man that reads Hemingway in a Hooper illustrated middle of the night cafe, there's an evergreen lovable quality to a man as genuine as he is that realness talented. Speaking of this storytelling, between quoting Twain and referencing the classic mortality moral story of 'The Old Man And The Sea', which everyone should be spending an earnest night with, we even see more heart from the 'Training Day' director who took us to the hoods of the hood. Leaving some so shocked they even thought his second name was an insult. Little did they see there was so much more depth and distinction to this inspired director who showed 'White House Down' how Olympus really falls. This isn't just more ultraviolence than Del Rey in bullets and brawn. There's heart and art.
It's enough of a rap sheet to give this man all the big guns for his acting arsenal. Just like former 'Star Wars', 'Lord Of The Rings' and 'Bourne' franchisee Marton Csokas who with this and 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'Sin City-A Dame To Kill For' is having his best, most in-demand year. Who else has that many big number franchises in 2014? Still someone should tell casting directors that this guy is from New Zealand and not Russia, however one thing authenticated is this actors amazing ability to play it so, damn dark and bad. Here he makes the word villain even more vile you want him dead even more than our Equalizer, ready to neutralise and cancel him out does. Still our secret service man borrowing store brought goods for the night has plenty of majesty on his side, even an 'Independence Day', ultimate president on a 'look twice, that's who you think it is' Bill Pullman looking to resurrect his 90's sci-fi career moment like Bill Paxton in Denzel's last film. Now raise and tap your glasses a couple of times and hope for another speech. I propose another toast! Then there's 'Fighter' veteran actress of the moment Melissa Leo, who from chameleonic turns in everything that's anything from 'Oblivion' to 'Prisoners' is showing and proving the dynamic versatility that is making her filmography just the beginnings of something iconic. Then there's Chloe. Miss Grace Moretz, shy of a high-school graduation is having her own prom moment in Hollywood, following her 'Kick Ass' entrance and classic reworking wonder of King's 'Carrie'. This young queen who is right now showing cinema purists that beautiful acting benefits 'If I Stay', already has the legacy makings of a legend before her or our time, far grown from a child star. We all wish we achieved this much by this age. If Jennifer Lawrence will be the new Meryl Streep in decades time, this girl will catch even more fire than Katniss in just a few more. Just think of what her career will look like or where it will be when she's Meryl's age...or Denzel's even! After protecting a young Dakota Fanning in 'Man Of Fire', Washington now has protective chemistry with Chloe as she goes from the girl made to say the 'C' word to one showing a Jodie Foster, 'Taxi Driver' scorned and ruined, childhood dream of a better over bitter life to the desires of predatory men. Even with short changed screen time, this may be Denzel's film but she's the crux catalyst. Just check the hurt hope for a happy ending to the books Washington is reading. Desperation has never been so passionately inspired. As this hit-man looking after hit-girl, fatherly figure fights the hands of pop time and times his revenge down to a split, watch precise second this is bound to find itself in the tenth. This is the new series Denzel's rich catalogue of classics has been missing and he and this new franchise can keep going. Dollar for dollar, brick for brick. Tell me what you see when you look at a man like him? A knight in shining armour in a world where men like that don't exist anymore between all the pimps and players. Thank God for the man dancing like a Gladys Knight Pip. Who knows one day this man could bring more change and play Obama, because in Washington we still have a hero. TIM DAVID HARVEY.