We'd all like to have an Equalizer like Robert McCall (Denzel
Washington). On a train
outside Istanbul, he's the quiet one reading a book who is also a man with
a mission: accost a Turkish
American who kidnapped his daughter not because he loved her, but because,
out of spite, he didn't want his ex-wife to have her.
The Equalizer returns with the little girl, who melts into her
Next thing we know, Robert McCall is driving for Lyft.
One of his rides is an elderly Jewish man who keeps telling him
about his search for his lost sister.
They were separated by the Nazis during the War, and haven't seen
each other since. Robert
McCall spends some time with the man, listening to him, looking at his
pictures, caring about his preoccupation.
McCall also spends some time with a neighbor kid, Miles (Ashton
Sanders), who's got some artistic talent, but is also on the verge of
getting in with a gang, partly because then he thinks he can get revenge
for his brother who was shot. McCall
tries to convince Miles that he has a decision to make with his life, and
On one of his Lyft rides, McCall encounters a callous young man
putting a dishevelled young woman in the back seat who's obviously hurt,
and he only pays McCall to drive her home.
McCall takes her to the hospital instead, finds out she was
assaulted by a group of arrogant, entitled young rich men, and McCall pays
them a visit to remind them of their obligation to her.
McCall is still grieving for his wife, but he has friends, one of
whom, Susan (Melissa Leo), seems to have known his late wife, also.
But there's more to this---Susan works for some clandestine
government agency which McCall used to be part of, as well---that's where
he learned his unique close-quarter skills.
Though McCall has successfully walked away from that life, by
staging his own funeral in D.C. and moving to Boston, he gets dragged back
in, because Susan is on the trail of betrayals within the outfit, which
puts them all at risk.
Director Antoine Fuqua seems content to move at a cerebral pace.
There are plenty of quiet scenes taking place in small apartments
and tiny courtyards. There's
some brutal action in the middle which doesn't seem to intersect with
these characters, but eventually we find out the connections, because it
takes someone like The Equalizer to figure it out for us.
At the end, we're playing violent hide-and-seek (the losers die) at
an abandoned beach resort in the middle of a hurricane.
But we all know that even the tempest outside can't stop our
intrepid Equalizer, who has a way of making wrongs right, and then quietly
fading back into the woodwork. How
can we not like a guy like that?