2014-09-26

The Equalizer – Justice is Dealt

by Yo Snyder

Robert McCall has every appearance of a nice guy.   Although a quiet and somewhat reclusive individual,
Mr. McCall is friendly, helpful, and very courteous.  Providing useful quips such as “Progress, not
protection”, or “Don’t doubt yourself, doubt kills”.  This is while helping the various co-workers
and friends he encounters on the street. 
It’s obvious from the start, Mr. McCall has a past that keeps him up at
night.  When sleep eludes him, we find
him venturing to a 24 hr diner around the corner from his home where we see him
display OCD tendencies in arranging  dishes and drinks.  During these late night visits, he is always
reading and shares stories with a neighborhood hooker he has befriended named
Teri.  We see Mr. McCall encourage and
try to help Teri through various rough circumstances she shares.  Through the conversations with Teri, we learn
that Mr McCall’s wife has died and he is trying to read through the “100 Must
Read Book List” as it was something he was doing with his wife before she
passed away.  The opening scenes of the
movie do an excellent job of setting up Mr. McCall as somewhat mysterious but
very helpful and kind character.

That is until he is walking home from the diner and with
Teri and her Pimp shows up.  He grabs
Teri and leaves and through some clever camera work and good body language from
Denzel Washington, we see Mr. McCall might have some grit behind those helpful
eyes.  The next day, Teri shows up black
and blue to the diner and now Mr. McCall has some issues to resolve.  He goes to the Russian Mob hang out to find
Teri’s Pimp and enters a room full of well-armed Russian Mob members.  He walks up to the table and tells Teri’s
Pimp he will buy Teri for $9200.  He
wants to resolve it peacefully and cleanly. 
When he is denied, we see Mr McCall’s hidden skills come to life.  Using a “Sherlock” like visual processing of
the environment, Mr. McCall meticulously plans his attack, by hand, through the
gang without a single scratch.  Now we
have some awesome butt kicking scenes. 

The problem is, Terri’s Pimp is tied into a very powerful
Russian Mafia and Mr. McCall has just interrupted business.  So enter a new Russian leader to deal with
the problem.  This is where The Equalizer  really begins to shine.  With amazing use of light and dark, good vs.
evil, the movie takes us through a journey. 
The new leader is tattooed with a sundry of evil, including a
pentagram.   He is clearly evil incarnate
set oppose to the light and goodness that Mr. McCall displays.  Where Mr. McCall offers each of his victims a
way out, a chance to redeem themselves, or an opportunity to do good, the new
Russian leader dispenses merciless justice. 
The new leader is played by Marton Csokas and he does an amazing job of
playing an evil yet calculating and intelligent adversary to our hero. 

The biggest appeal in this movie (beyond the macho man butt
kicking) is the imagery of light and dark. 
Also, many biblical concepts come alive in this movie.  I don’t know why Denzel has not pressed for
this type of role more often.  His roles
in Training Day and Flight were just filthy. 
Here he does not cuss, he offers mercy and grace, and he shows
compassion, but he also shows complete justice for those who are un repented of
their deeds.  For example, two cops are
taking money from local businesses when Mr. McCall emerges from the shadows to
ask them to stop.  Giving them an
opportunity to do what is right and give back the money.  When they resist, justice is dealt.  Had this movie just been another shoot em up,
kill em up, romp, this reviewer would have walked out.  But it wasn’t, it was a display of justice,
power, mercy and grace.  At one point in
the film, Mr McCall faces a man and when asked why he is there, he replies “To
cut the head of the snake”.  (One of many
biblical metaphors in my opinion)  The
reply is “no, why are you really here?” 
Mr McCall replies, “to find peace”. 
As though after justice is dealt to those undeserving of further mercy,
peace will come.  It’s a great concept,
but one we know does not lie in a white knight distributing vigilante
justice.  No, while The Equalizer goes a long way to present biblical ideas like grace,
justice, mercy, and power, it does not come close to presenting these concepts
from an all-powerful yet loving father in heaven.  God is a picture of perfect justice, he can’t
let sin go unpunished but he loves us enough to extend us grace and mercy.  And unlike Mr. McCall’s victims, we are offered
not only a second chance, but a third, and a fourth… Why?  Because its not up to us to live the perfect
life, Jesus did that for us, we can claim his perfect life as our own and he
can take our imperfect life and lay it in the grave! 

I really, really enjoyed The
Equalizer
.  Yes it has its share of
violence but it’s not violent for the sake of violence, this is one of those
movies that gets you cheering for the good guy to kick the bad guy’s butt!  With amazing use of good vs. evil and light
vs. dark, this movie takes the white knight or vigilante theme to a new level.  And it is one having me look forward to the
sequel!

5 out of 7This movie is rated R for violence and
language.  While Denzel does not deal the
foul language his victims sure do.  And
though you may be cheering as he dispenses his justice, it is a violent
justice, keep the kids away.  I am also
happy to report, no nudity but this is still one to steer clear of if R rated
images are a problem for you.