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Equalizer, The (Blu-ray Review)

4 Jan, 2015 By: John Latchem

Sony Pictures
Box Office $100.92 million
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references.
Stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo.

Denzel Washington reunites with his Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, to deliver an effective action-thriller based on the 1980s TV series about a former government operative who becomes a vigilante to protect the innocent from hopeless circumstances.

Washington delivers a measured performance as Robert McCall, a man with a dark past who is trying to settle into a normal life but having trouble finding his place in the world. He befriends a young call girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and learns she is trapped by Russian sex traffickers. He tries to buy her freedom, but when his initial attempts are turned away he finds himself pitted against an infrastructure of Russian mobsters who control the local cops.

Rather than turn his back on his friends, he uses his black ops training to become a one-man army in a personal war against crime in Boston. Washington’s McCall is a man who projects confidence, yet the rage he keeps bubbling beneath the surface always threatens to break out in terrifying ways, much to the chagrin of the bad guys. Fuqua does a marvelous job setting up the films set pieces, putting the audience in McCall’s mindset as he assesses his situation and makes use of whatever he can turn into a weapon to wipe out the hordes of henchmen sent to take him out. 

Blu-ray extras consist mostly of a batch of five production featurettes that run about five to seven minutes each, briefly touching upon the origins of the film, the casting and the stunts. One of them is essentially a PSA for an organization that fights sexual exploitation.

There’s also a tongue-in-cheek promo for the hardware store where McCall works, and a digital photo gallery.

The Blu-ray also includes a “Vengeance Mode,” which is a version of the movie that tacks on about 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes videos hosted by Washington and director Antoine Fuqua that pop up at key moments during the film. While the videos offer some nice insights into the making of the film, the easygoing banter between Washington and Fuqua during their interstitials makes me wish they had committed to a full commentary and not just a few isolated moments.

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