Grade B-

Loosely based on the t.v. show, “The Equalizer” stars Denzel Washington as a quiet man who works in a tool/garden store.  He is very precise in his actions, likes to help those who need it, and his smiles come quickly; but when he is alone, a darkness can be seen in his eyes, hinting at a past that haunts him every day.

Unable to sleep most nights, Washington goes to a diner, drinks tea and reads.  Eventually, he becomes friends with another patron: a young prostitute played by Chloe Grace Moretz.  When Moretz becomes missing for a few days and turns up in the ICU of a hospital after a brutal beating by her pimp, Washington goes on the offensive, resulting in a bloody war between him and the Russian mafia and a few crooked cops.

First place for my memorable, movie moments of “The Equalizer” is the scene when Washington makes the Russian pimp an offer he can’t refuse.  Well, the pimp refused!  Washington locks the door, and in slow motion we see him eyeing the room and the four Russian mobsters within.  Washington calculates how he is going to go about destroying these hoodlums, and in what order.  The carnage that follows is highly gratifying.

Runner-up for my memorable moments of this movie is the scene that has Washington’s co-worker asking how Washington got the cut on his hand (from the scene mentioned above).  Washington’s reply is that he hit it on something stupid.  Nice!

Fans of fast paced, action packed, mindless movies should move on — this movie is not for you.  “The Equalizer” moves at a slower pace, similar to a novel.  It takes the time to develop characters and makes the audience care for what happens to them.  This sets “The Equalizer” apart from the typical, big-budget, Hollywood action flick.  Unfortunately, it also suffers from several shenanigans that plague said typical, big-budget, Hollywood actioners.  The biggest shenanigan is **SPOILER ALERT** the ending of the movie: after killing off most, if not all, of the east coast Russian mob (plus the big boss in Russia), Washington goes back to his daily routine, living in the same neighborhood, the same apartment, taking the same bus, and spending his late nights in the same diner.  What’s the big deal with this, you ask?  The Russian mob found out who Washington was halfway through the movie!  They knew his name, where he lived, where he worked.  How long before some friends or relatives of the mobsters Washington killed fire a rocket into the apartment where Washington lives?  Russian hit men would come out of the woodwork looking to make a name for themselves by trying to kill “The Equalizer.”  Washington’s character makes every effort to minimize collateral damage whenever possible; but by living out in the open, living in the same place, he is risking many lives when the war eventually comes to him again.  But for this big shenanigan, I would’ve given this movie a slightly higher rating.

— M