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Friday, January 2, 2015

The Equalizer Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
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 (ChloĆ« 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.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) works at a home improvement store. He is a friend to his co-workers, even helping an overweight employee get in shape in order to become a security guard. McCall is a widower and an insomniac and spends late nights in a coffee shop reading. The coffee shop is frequented by working girl named Terry (Chloe Grace Moretz) who aspires to be a singer. Terry is beaten by her Russian pimp, sending McCall on a gruesome killing spree. He takes revenge for the harm that came to a girl he barely knows. This action brings Russian enforcer Teddy (Marton Csokas) to town to find and destroy the man who is making so much trouble for the Russians.

In an extremely predictable plot twist, McCall takes on corrupt cops and the Russian mob, without breaking much of a sweat. He’s faster and smarter than they are and there is never a concern that he might not make it through this film. Why he has the skills to take out anyone in his path is barely explained and comes in the form of a visit to an old colleague Susan (Melissa Leo) and her husband Brian (Bill Pullman).

The Equalizer reunites Training Day director Antoine Fuqua with star Denzel Washington in a film about a mild mannered guy who becomes a vigilante. The story would have been more interesting if he had just been a mild mannered store clerk with no prior skills or training who takes matters into his own hands when those close to him have been harmed. That’s what I was expecting, more of a Punisher type of story. I would have settled for a Transporter- like bad guy with a good heart. 

If you’re into action films, and fight choreography you’ll be interested in the Blu-ray’s Vengeance Mode. In Vengeance mode, Washington and Fuqua break down the fight sequences. If you want to see Denzel Washington kick butt, you’ll certainly see that in this film, but if you’re hoping for a better action flick than Training Day, this isn't it.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Sony offers another stellar Blu-ray with a 1080p encoded transfer and a 2.40:1 ratio. Much of the film is set in dimply lit streets and the interior of a club or McCall’s apartment. Still, the detail is impressive and black levels are excellent. With even, accurate skin tones and a rich, deep color palette I had no complaints about this transfer.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Equalizer’s 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is also excellent with all channels put to good use. As all good action flicks do, this offers gunfire, helicopter blades and various sounds that come from hand to hand combat. Amidst the action, the dialogue doesn’t get lost and remains clear and intelligible.
Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
The Equalizer offers an alternative mode for viewing the action and six behind the scenes featurettes, which are interesting. I’ve never been a fan of photo galleries. 
  • Vengeance Mode – Optional presentation which gives viewers an inside look at the action sequences, adding over 20 minutes to the run time. 
  • Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time – A commercial for the fictional hardware store. 
  • Children of the Night (5:24) – Chloe Grace Moretz discusses her character, her experience on the film and research for the part. 
  • Inside The Equalizer (7:52) – A making of featurette featuring cast/crew interviews and some discussion of the television show. 
  • Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero (6:57) – A look at the training and preparation Denzel Washington went through for this film. 
  • Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua (7:07) – Behind the scenes with the Director. 
  • One Man Army: Training and Fighting (6:40) – Actors Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas and Navy Seals discuss the fight sequences and the importance of realism. 
  • Photo Gallery 
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
I’ve never seen the 80s television show, so I can’t comment on how this compares. Chloe Grace Moretz is just not an actress I enjoy watching, so I had an unusually hard time caring about her character. Most of the characters were underdeveloped, most of all Robert McCall. When you hear that the director and star of Training Day are teaming back together, it sets the bar pretty high. As far as action flicks go, this is an entertaining but forgettable movie. One viewing was enough for me. It’s not one I’ll likely revisit when I need a good action fix. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great and contains a decent list of features. 
    Order your copy today!

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