The Horror Honeys: Blood, Power Tools, No Subtlety, & ALL the 'Splosions!

Blood, Power Tools, No Subtlety, & ALL the 'Splosions!

A Revenge Honey Review by Linnie

The Equalizer (2014)

Every critic, no matter how highbrow they may be, has to turn their brain off every so often and just watch something mindless. For some, they do it with romance films. For others, it may be with horror movies. For me? It's action films. No matter how silly or stupid they may be, sometimes I just want to see some bad guys get kicked in the nads and watch a few vintage cars explode. So, knowing that I'm not particularly objective when it comes to these kind of movies, it is a rare circumstance under which I'd actually review one. But, since Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer is a revenge film loaded with so much gore, it would make Leatherface say, "Eesh, dude, cool it," it had to be done. And what did I think?


The Story: Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a simple man living a simple life as an employee of a big-box hardware store. But one evening, his casual diner conversation with a young prostitute named Teri (HH Scream Queen Hall of Fame inductee Chloë Grace Moretz) reveals that she's under the thumb of the Russian mafia, and that is something Mr. McCall can't abide. After Teri is mercilessly beaten by Russian thugs, McCall falls back on a very particular set of skills to take down the mob, one slimeball at a time. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, Robert McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.

Her set of skills? Looking amazing in every wig they put her in.

At least it wasn't hanging by barbed wire...
Based on the 80s television show of the same name, Fuqua takes the elegant private detective (played in the original by Edward Woodward) and turns him into a one-man Swiss Army Knife with a blood lust that is unquenchable. As Washington has aged, he's become significantly more mellow and soft-spoken, a trait which serves him well as McCall. The problem is that the rest of The Equalizer is about as subtle as Andrew Dice Clay tap dancing through a Trappist Monastery. Everything in the movie is overbearingly loud, from the intrusive hard rock soundtrack to the near-constant explosions. More than once, I actually lost track of the dialogue or plot because I couldn't hear anything other than the music. But if you go into a Fuqua movie looking for subtlety, the problem is more your's than the film's.

Huh? What? I'm sorry. I was distracted by your splooshy-ness.

Were the Russian mobsters layered and fascinating characters with backstories that gave me hesitation about enjoying their violent and blood-soaked deaths?

Of course not. They were one-dimensional caricatures that would make Boris and Natasha roll their eyes. But, lead by the mustache-twirlingly evil (and obscenely sexy) Martin Csokas (who like every actor playing Russian in this film is, in fact, not Russian), they are so over-the-top villainous that you won't feel guilty cheering when they have their spines cored out with an electric drill or get hung from the rafters of a hardware store with barbed wire. Because both those things happen. And it's satisfying as hell.

And of course, everything about The Equalizer is a little too convenient. McCall works in a hardware store loaded with tools that he's somehow equipped to kill men with. McCall knows high-ranking government officials that give him access to inside knowledge of the Russians. There are plot holes galore, and they are the kind of holes you notice right off. But does any of that lessen The Equalizer's entertainment value? As long as you know what you're getting in to, not remotely.

Is The Equalizer for you? If you're willing to turn your brain off for a while and just watch some bad guys bleed, then sure. If you plan on watching it with a critic's eye... you're going to be entirely disappointed. So just in case, I'm providing ratings for everyone: 

Revenge Honey Critical Rating: 1 1/2 Underage Prostitutes out of 5

Revenge Honey Action Rating: 4 SPLOSIONS! out of 5

The Equalizer is available on DVD/Blu-ray, iTunes, & Amazon Instant Video