The Equalizer (2014) [Blu-Ray]
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz
Release Date: Available on Blu-Ray & DVD December 30th
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
In The Equalizer, Denzel Washington plays McCall, a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when McCall meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to serve vengeance against anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.
‘The Equalizer’ tells the story of a man named Robert McCall (Washington) who these days lives his life in a quiet manner, reading famous books, eating at a local diner and working at Home Mart (pretty much a Home Depot style chain home goods/improvement store). When a young girl named Teri (Moretz) who he regularly interacts with at the local diner is brutally beaten as a result of her unwanted career as part of a Russian prostitute ring, Robert snaps and his past life, along with his unique talents are brought back into his life full force. Soon, Robert finds himself on a path of vengeance, attempting to help even things out for those in need where he’s able to. Now, after the decisions he’s made have fully reverberated, his life will never be the same again and he will need to take on part of the Russian mob simply to stay alive.
Director Antoine Fuqua does an excellent job at the helm of ‘The Equalizer’ and finds a perfect balance of calmness and insanity that so adequately fits this film. ‘The Equalizer’ also reteams Fuqua once again with Denzel Washington, both of whom garnered large acclaim for their work together on ‘Training Day’. Washington delivers an impressive performance with his portrayal of Robert McCall in ‘The Equalizer’ and is joined by a number of other talented individuals here as well, including the incredibly talented young actress Chloë Grace Moretz who provides a truly fantastic performance herself in the role of young Teri. Apparently the filmmakers were so impressed with her audition of the role which was initially meant to be for an older actress that they rewrote the role to be younger simply to accommodate it for her. A number of other talented individuals make up the cast, including Marton Csokas who is downright eerie in his portrayal of Teddy, along with Bill Pullman, David Harbour and a number of others, all of whom deliver more than adequate performances here.
Calm and composed, yet with a consistently tense vibe that seems to loom over each scene, then suddenly breaking into perfectly handled bloody chaos, ‘The Equalizer’ is an exceptional film. It’s a perfectly constructed movie that brings real emotion and human feelings at their most powerful, while also showing the darker sides of life and how for some, one simple action can finally result in that breaking point and everything suddenly reverberates back to how it was, even for the purest of reasons. Beautifully shot, emotional and at times brutally violent and action packed, ‘The Equalizer’ is a powerful film that brings heart, morals and some impressively constructed blood soaked fight sequences that make this well worth checking out for those who don’t mind its often slow pace. For those looking for a great film with a lot of offer in numerous ways, ‘The Equalizer’ is an exceptional piece of filmmaking and I would definitely recommend it.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Equalizer’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty solid as a whole, with no real faults or issues found throughout. The video is clear and detailed with colors and shapes clear and distinct during both the brighter and darker sequences, although the dark sequences do get exceptionally dark in this film so try to avoid watching with too much additional light in the room if possible. The fast moving action-oriented scenes are always discernible and pretty clean for the most part but again do get exceptionally dark at times, although never to the point of being unable to see what’s occurring on screen. Overall, a pretty solid high definition video presentation that should leave the majority quite pleased.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which also marks the first 7.1 channel soundtrack I’ve personally seen included on a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-Ray release, so that alone is some great news and a pleasant surprise in itself. What’s even better is that this 7.1 channel lossless soundtrack sounds fantastic. Even for a movie that is in large part quite calm and subtly tense, it manages to fully utilize all of the available channels quite frequently and in the best possible way, bringing the viewer fully into each calmly tense moment with surround effects in every possible corner, to the train whooshing by behind, along with the yells or animal noises in another, it really contributes a lot to the building level of intensity this film so expertly wields. It also has no hesitation hitting full force whenever the wave does hit and the action ensues; surrounding the viewer in gunfire, broken glass or whatever else may be present, along with immersing you in at least a few explosions. All the while it still manages to keep the dialogue more than audible throughout. This is a very solid 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should more than satisfy and is hopefully also a good sign that Sony will continue to embrace the format on future titles when available.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘The Equalizer’ includes a number of solid bonus features. First off, we are treated to the most notable inclusion: the film itself in ‘Vengeance Mode With Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua’ which basically consists of the film in its entirety, but with input throughout featuring the film’s director and lead actor giving a unique insight into numerous elements of the film and how they came to be, along with breaking down how they portrayed the most deadly moves and much more. The Blu-Ray release also includes a number of short Behind the Scenes Featurette’s featuring interviews with numerous members of the cast and crew that explore various aspects of the film’s creation/production. The Featurette’s include: ‘Inside The Equalizer’; ‘Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua’; ‘Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero’; ‘Children of the Night’; and ‘One Man Army: Training and Fighting’. Also included on the release is a Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery and a pretty hilarious faux commercial for the store in which Washington’s character works in the film, the commercial/promo titled ‘Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time’. It should also be noted that all of these special features with the exception of the ‘Home Mart’ commercial and the ‘Children of the Night’ featurette are Blu-Ray exclusives and therefore not available on the DVD release.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.