Equalizer, The: Denzel Washington as Action Star

the_equalizer_2_washington_moretzThe new collaboration between director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel Washington, “The Equalizer,” is not as exciting or engaging as their previous one, “Training Day,” which earned Washington his second (and first lead) Oscar Award.

The film is based on the drama series of the same title, which aired on CBS for four years (from 1985 to 1989), starring Edward Woodward as a former government agent turned avenging angel. The small-screen series was more poignant because it was set in New York City in a different era, during the Koch administration, while Reagan was US president.

Trying to update the TV series, director Fuqua and screenwriter Richard Wenck (who had penned the disappointing actioner “16 Blocks”) have moved the locale to Boston which, among other things, ensures that there will be good and bad cops in the plot.

“The Equalizer,” which world premiered at the Toronto Film Fest to mixed critical response, is released theatrically on September 26, with high hopes that it would launch a new successful franchise.

What motivates Washington’s character, Robert McCall, is an innate sense of justice, as the star explained when I interviewed him: “McCall has done a lot of bad things in his past, and he’s trying to get beyond that – he’s not proud of his past, and he’s trying to do better.  After leading a quiet life, he finds that desire for justice reawakened when a young girl, abandoned by the rest of the world, needs his help.  He didn’t like himself – he never lost his skills, he made a conscious decision to put that behind him.  It’s when he meets an innocent young girl who is being abused, that he decides to do something about it.”