The Equalizer

It's only getting worse -- not only are they still remaking shows I haven't seen, they're remaking shows I've barely even heard of. I didn't even know this was a remake until a friend of mine casually mentioned that he wanted to see this movie because he'd liked the TV show. Then I vaguely remembered the show's existence, though I thought the main character was a retired cop. He isn't, in either incarnation; he's ex-CIA, though of course the movie version is at least 27 times scarier than the TV version due to ratings issues. I still don't want to think about the Corkscrew Incident.

So Denzel Washington (2 Guns) is Robert McCall. He introduces himself once as Bob, but Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz, Carrie) says that he looks more like a Robert because he always has a classic novel in hand whenever she seems him at the local diner at 2 am. (He doesn't sleep much.) "Robert reads books. Bob watches TV," she says, and she might have a point. She definitely has a lot of trouble to deal with -- she was brought over from Russia as a little girl and is now forced to act as an 'escort' to wealthy men. I don't know how that diner stays in business, by the way. Robert brings his own tea with him so all he gets is a cup of hot water, and the counter guy keeps telling Teri her pie and coffee is on the house.

Anyway, when the inevitable Bad Thing happens to Teri, Robert decides he has to do something, and believe me, he can do plenty. His day job may be at Home Mart (not to be confused with Home Depot), but given that his previous job was with the CIA, he's got quite the skill set. I never really thought about how many lethal things there are at your average home improvement store, but there are an awful lot, and they demonstrate a good portion of them here.

The problem is that Robert's idea of "doing something" is violent and messy and leads directly to the Corkscrew Incident, so he attracts a lot of the kind of attention you really don't want when you're ex-CIA and trying to keep a low profile. Most alarmingly, he attracts the attention of Teddy (not his real name), played by Marton Csokas of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Teddy is the enforcer for a major figure in the Russian mafia, and Robert is very bad for business.

Throw in a few corrupt cops like Masters (David Harbour, The Green Hornet) and former CIA contact Susan (Melissa Leo, Prisoners) and you've actually got a pretty good movie. Denzel Washington is always good at the characters with mysterious pasts, of course, and he gives Robert some interesting little OCD-style quirks that you don't normally see in an action hero. So a solid four and a quarter out of five, despite several improbable things happening. And the next time you're in trouble, try Craigslist. No, seriously. You might be surprised.

What do you see when you look at Robert? One scary guy, that's what I see.


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