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The Equalizer (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 15, 2014 by  



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Exhilarating and action-packed! If you are looking for an action film that is exciting and not too deep, then definitely give “The Equalizer” a try!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Equalizer

FILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 132 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 Aspect Ratio), English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish and English – Audio Descriptive Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R

Release Date: December 30, 2014


Directed by Antoine Fuqua

Written by Richard Wenk

Based on the TV series by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim

Produced by Catherine Hun

Executive Producer: Peter Lam, Albert Yeung

Music by Teddy Robin Kwan, Tommy Wai

Cinematography by Jason Kwan

Edited by Matthew Hui, Hoi Wong

Production Design by Che Kiu Lam


Starring:

Denzel Washington as Robert McCall

Marton Csokas as Teddy

Chloe Grace Moretz as Teri

David Harbour as Masters

Haley Bennett as Mandy

Bill Pullman as Brian Plummer

Melissa Leo as Susan Plummer

David Meunier as Slavi

Johnny Skourtis as Ralphie

Alex Veadov as Tevi

Vladimir Kulich as Vladimir Pushkin


McCall (Denzel Washington) has put his mysterious past behind him and is dedicated to living a new, quiet life. But when he meets Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by. 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.


Back in the mid-’80s, a crime drama TV series aired in the US titled “The Equalizer” about a retired espionage/intelligence officer with a mysterious past, who uses his skills as a vigilante to help victims.

Fast forward nearly 30-years later and a live action film based on the TV series was released in theaters.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”, “Shooter”, “Olympus Has Fallen”, “King Arthur”), the film would star Denzel Washington (“American Gangster”, “Training Day”, “Man on Fire”), Marton Csokas (“Lord of the Rings” films, “The Bourne Supremacy”, “xXx”), Chloe Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass” films, “Hugo”), Melissa Leo (“Oblivion”, “Frozen River”, “The Fighter”), Bill Pullman (“Independence Day”, “While You Were Sleeping”, “Spaceballs”), David Harbour (“Quantum of Solace”, “End of Watch”, “The Green Hornet”), Johnny Skourtis and Haley Bennett (“Marley & Me”, “The Hole”).

And the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in December 2014.

“The Equalizer” revolves around Robert McCall (portrayed by Denzel Washington), a manager that works at Home Mart and cares about his employees and often eats at a diner after work.

He tends to give advice to his employee Ralphie (portrayed by Johnny Skourtis), who wants to be a security guard at Home Mart and diner patron, Alina/Teri (portrayed by Chloe Grace Moretz) who wants to do more with her life, she also happens to be a victim of sex trafficking by the Russian Mafia and forced into prostitution.

But Robert McCall is more than just a normal and caring employee, he’s also a retired Green Beret Lt. Colonel and ex-CIA SOG (Special Operations Group) Paramilitary Operations Officer.

One night, Teri receives a call to entertain a man that she doesn’t want to be with but she is forced to.

The next day, Robert notices that she has been beaten up and when he goes to walk her home, the Russian Mafia comes by and retrieves her, while one of the henchman holds a gun towards Robert and the pimp gives him his business card.

The following night, Robert finds out that Teri was beaten quite badly and now she has been hospitalized.  When he goes to see her, Robert sees how badly she has been beaten and he learns from her friend, also forced into prostitution of how Teri was brought into prostitution by the Russian Nights pimp, Slavi.

Seeing Teri being victimized against her will, Robert recalls the promise he made to his deceased wife to leave his old life behind.

But not content of seeing people being victimized, Robert decides to use his skills to exact revenge on those who hurt Teri.

Unfortunately, by doing so, the Russian Mafia send in their brutal enforcer/investigator Teddy (portrayed by Marton Csokas) to eliminate the mysterious man causing problems for them.

Will Robert be ready to take on the Russian Mafia?


VIDEO:

“The Equalizer” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).  Picture quality is magnificent as close-ups show impressive detail.   Skintones are natural, black levels are nice and deep.  The film boasts wonderful cinematography and I have to say the fight choreography was done remarkably well and cinematographer Mauro Fiore (“Avatar”, “Training Day”, “Real Steel”) has always done a wonderful job of capturing action and he does a great job with how the action is presented in this film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Equalizer” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish and English – Audio Descriptive Track.  The lossless soundtrack for this film is magnificent and immersive.  Dialogue and music are clear through the front and center channels but the film utilizes the surround and rear surround channels with efficacy.  You can hear every punch, hear bullets whizzing all around, you can hear explosions as the LFE can be felt from the major booms.  This is one action film that sounds magnificent in HD!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“The Equalizer” comes with the following special features:

  • Watch the film in “Vengeance Mode” – (2:35:01) Vengeance Mode features behind the scenes video throughout the movie.
  • Inside the Equalizer – (7:51) A featurette about how a franchise was built around a character portrayed by Denzel Washington.
  • Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero – (6:56) A featurette about working with Denzel Washington and his dedication as an actor.
  • Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua – (7:07) A featurette about choosing director Antoine Fuqua as the director of “The Equalizer”.
  • Children of the Night – (5:14) A featurette about hiring actress Chloe Grace Moretz for the role of a prostitute and research that went into the character thanks to the Children of the Night.
  • One Man Army: Training and Fighting – (6:41) Denzel Washington’s training for his fight scenes in “The Equalizer”.
  • Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time – (2:11) A humorous promotion for Home Mart.
  • Photo Gallery – View the various stills shots or view them all as a slide show.

EXTRAS:

“The Equalizer” comes with a slipcover and an Ultraviolet code.


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“The Equalizer” is an action film that people love to watch.

From “The Bourne Identity” films, the “Taken” films to TV shows like “24” which pits your operative doing all they can to protect lives or being the hunted and turning the tables around, these are action films that people gravitate to and whether or not you love popcorn action films or not, the fact is that they bringing in a lot of money in the box office and for moviegoers, it’s great to have these heroes or vigilantes that go out of their way to protect people or family for the greater good or to exact some sort of revenge against some empire or corruption.

While “The Equalizer” may seem like a banal action film about a one-man fighting machine against all odds, I found this film to be very interesting in the fact that Denzel Washington’s character as Robert seems like your normal, average guy. He works at Home Mart (a play on Home Depot) and he loves helping people.  So, when you watch the scene of how this older man has the skills of a deadly soldier, it’s because behind-the-scenes, he is a respective, retired operative.

A man trying to live a normal life, continue to uphold the promise he has made to his deceased wife that he would leave his past behind and start anew.  But when he sees a girl who was forced into prostitution being beaten badly, his feeling of wanting to protect people and erase the scum of the Earth starts to come out and in this case, he has chosen to take on a small group of Russian sex traffickers and eventually realizing he now has the Russian Mafia after him, especially a man that is equally as deadly as him, the brutal enforcer named Terry (portrayed by Marton Csokas).

And you would think it would be a cat and mouse game but it’s not the case as neither men are afraid of confronting each other.

And as the film managed to make nearly $200 million in the box office, there is no doubt that this film will have a sequel and its a start of “The Equalizer” franchise.  And one can hope the next film is just as exciting as the first.

Of course, as always the case for many of these popcorn action films, one can’t expect a lot of character development or a deep storyline.   While the James Bond films often show us how action/story can be done, films such as “Taken”, “Bourne” films to name a few, and now including “The Equalizer” do well in the box office because of the action and excitement and many moviegoers in the US gravitate towards these films.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture and lossless audio are fantastic.  Picture quality shows great detail and wonderful action cinematography, while the lossless soundtrack is quite immersive.  You get a few special features and also can watch the film in “Vengeance Mode” (and of course, original theatrical mode) which shows director Antoine Fuqua and actor Denzel Washington discussing the film.  Personally, I wish they made it into a video/audio commentary track as “Vengeance Mode” can be disruptive as the movie plays and then goes directly to Fuqua and Washington discussing the film and then back to the film after the discussion is complete.  But this is a preference for me and is subjective to the viewer.

Overall, “The Equalizer” brings Denzel Washington joins the many actors (especially the more seasoned actors) who have proven that their film careers as action stars can still flourish decades later.  Tom Cruise in “Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow”, Liam Neeson in “Taken” films, Kiefer Sutherland in many seasons of the “24” TV series, Michael Caine in “Harry Brown” and Clint Eastwood in “Gran Torino”, Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damm, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Jackie Chan, etc….there is still mad respect for these actors that have entertained us for decades and many still want to see them on the big screen as action heroes!

And while Denzel Washington has two Academy Awards under his belt (for “Training Day” and “Glory”), it’s great to have someone in his caliber take on an action film and seeing his character kicking major butt!

Exhilarating and action-packed! If you are looking for an action film that is exciting and not too deep, then definitely give “The Equalizer” a try!

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