Washington delivers in the action department and Fuqua ably captures the grittiness and unnaturalness of McCall’s handiwork, but there is a gnawing feeling that, for all his charisma and intensity, the main lead may have been miscast or too subdued. According to an article on thefilmstage.com from June 15, 2010, as well as an October 2012 article on ScreenRant.com, the film was originally supposed to feature Russell Crowe in the title role, with“Crash” director Paul Haggis in the directing seat.
The script feels very much like a superhero origin story. It has many of the same beats as one, but done with a more style. This is a bit odd considering that the writer/producer Richard Wenk has had varying levels of success with such works as the “Expendables 2,” “16 Blocks” and “The Mechanic.”
While most of the action takes place at night, it fits the tone of the story perfectly. The reasoning is that nobody knows who McCall actually is, which makes the impact of what he does even more powerful and terrifying. He is methodical, creative, cold and bloody — perfect qualities for someone working in the darkness, as evidenced in the final battle scene set in his workplace.
Supporting parts by Melissa Leo and Martin Csokas add flavor to the story, but Csokas as the villain almost steals the show for a good chunk of the film. To that effect, the back-and-forth dialogue between he and McCall is riveting, particularly in one such scene near the end of the film’s second act at a dinner table.
Ultimately, “The Equalizer” is very much the first entry of a potential franchise. Beginning with a moody atmosphere and ending a powerful punch, the story is still quite engaging, and I fully recommend giving it a watch.
Follow Collin Chersi on Twitter: @PepperChersi