Peter Suderman Reviews The Equalizer


The Equalizer is expected to top this weekend's box office. I reviewed the movie for The Washington Times

Don't worry if you don't remember "The Equalizer," the late '80s TV series on which Denzel Washington's latest film is based.

The movie borrows little from the show except a few names and a basic setup that is intended mostly as a vehicle for righteous violence.

As in the TV show, a mysterious loner named Robert McCall (Mr. Washington) stalks city streets, taking down thugs and bad guys in an effort to help good citizens put-upon by the crime and corruption of urban life.

He's got a past, a sense of justice, and a way with knives and guns.

The movie changes the city setting from New York to Boston, perhaps out of deference to the Big Apple's massive drop in street crime over the last two and a half decades.

But aside from the inclusion of a few cops with Irish accents, Boston doesn't have much a presence or personality.

That's in keeping with the rest of the film. It's an appropriately generic urban setting for this thoroughly generic revenge thriller and its bloody but persistently generic action thrills.

One of thinking about the movie is as a spiritual successor to Man on Fire, the 2004 Tony Scott actioner that also starred Washington. The Equalizer isn't nearly as stylistically over-the-top (although from time to time it flirts with a similarly spastic approach), but it has the same sort of determined, violent, justice-at-all-costs momentum. There isn't all that much drama, really, just a series of increasingly brutal encounters in which Washington inevitably triumphs, using whatever is convenient as a weapon. It's not about the conflict so much as it is about the catharsis. 


NEXT: Dalibor Rohac: Libertarians and the European Union

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  1. I demand Edward Woodward. And also this son, who as I recall got beaten up by Ralph Macchio in a karate tourney.

    1. Should have taught his son to sweep the leg.

    2. Woodward is dead you insensitive bastard. Apologize immediately.

    3. If we’re going to have Edward Woodward can we have Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle too?

  2. Pope Francis celebrates the restoration of the Jesuit order 200 years ago.…..-the-socie

    1. (I’d watch *that* movie.)

  3. Salon officially wrote the worst article in its history. In which a Salonista writes 5,000 words about how we should totally change the constitution.

    Our 18-year-olds are hyperactive online but, for the most part, socially immature. They learn how to party in college, while generally failing to complete reading assignments. The new Constitution would institute a two-year national service commitment, allowing students to obtain college admission at the end of high school?deferred acceptance. They would have the security of a spot waiting for them in college, but would in the meantime take a deliberate part in expansive national service programs. The government has run AmeriCorps successfully. Multiply that by a thousand. A math whiz from Vermont can teach high school kids in Zuni, New Mexico.

    Two years of slavery for everyone!

    1. And it totally wouldn’t turn into some kind of boondoggle!

      1. I can think of no way a politician could abuse the fact that we have literally millions of people at any given time working as slaves.

        1. The only way to get people to work at forced jobs is to throw them in jail if they don’t work. So we would have jails full of “national service evaders”. The only way to make “national service” work is to make leaving your national service job before your commitment is up a crime.

          This people are silly and ignorant but never forget they are also unspeakably evil.

    2. The new Constitution would institute a two-year national service commitment

      Send them to the fields to work in the people’s gardens!!

      The government has run AmeriCorps successfully. Multiply that by a thousand. A math whiz from Vermont can teach high school kids in Zuni, New Mexico.

      Yes, forcing someone against their will into a job they don’t want will produce great results. And of course being in a job where getting fired means you get to go home and do what you want will absolutely produce dedicated employees.
      But it is the college students are socially immature.

      I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. This idiot actually takes it for granted that the hypothetical math wiz will be happy to give up his life and teach brats in Vermont and do a great job. Why wouldn’t someone give their best to the collective?

      How is that our society produces people who are this dangerously stupid?

      1. I am not sure whether to laugh or cry. This idiot actually takes it for granted that the hypothetical math wiz will be happy to give up his life and teach brats in Vermont and do a great job. Why wouldn’t someone give their best to the collective?

        He’s not even teaching kids in Vermont. He’s teaching high school kids in Zuni, New Mexico.

        Two problems: 1. You’re forcing 18 year olds to travel half-way across the country to an alien town filled with people they don’t know. What could possibly go wrong?

        2. I’m sure the 97% of people in Zuni, New Mexico who are Native Americans would be tremendously happy to have their children taught by a white slave shipped in a week earlier from Vermont who doesn’t even want to be there.

        1. Because every brown person is dying to have a rich smug white progressive teach him how to live. Didn’t you know that Irish.

          1. It’s nationwide busing. Meanwhile, the Zuni youth will be forced from their reservation to go harvest maple syrup in the VT work camps. The Syrup of Tears, as it will be known. What could possibly go wrong?

        2. would be tremendously happy to have their children taught by a white slave shipped in a week earlier from Vermont

          I dunno, the sharper ones might appreciate the irony.

          1. We rarely *enslaved* the Indians – killed them many times, robbed them, of course, but enslavement? Not so much.

            1. We did however, routinely grab them and ship them off to unfamiliar country, with a “good luck, make it work, leave and it’s your ass”…

      1. It is like their hideous political views took physical form as their bodies.

    3. Can we just ship people like the author of this article to North Korea already? Paradise awaits.

      1. The best part about this article is that it’s written by professors at LSU.

        Maybe the reason your students aren’t completing reading assignments is because they’re the type of people who got their book larnin’ from Louisiana public schools.

        1. That or maybe its because the students are smart enough to know their professors are fascist nitwits and thus avoid the reading assignments. I wouldn’t read anything these clowns assigned. Would you?

        2. My younger brother is about to graduate from UNO after spending 6 years studying part time around products of the LA public school systems (a good part of that was in community college) He’s pretty liberal, but I think he’s gotten less optimistic about the glories of government after spending so much time around the products of bleeding heart policies.

          Also, he’s beginning to see the unwisdom of deciding to raise your young family in New Orleans. (his wife is from Louisiana)

    4. can you even imagine what a new Constitution, written by progs, would look like?

      1. Fill in the blank?

        Multiple choice?

      2. I’m gonna say it would be 147 pages long. Or is that naive?

        1. I could help them shorten it up.

          Article 1

          Free shit for everyone but the rich, and the rich pay.

          The end.

    5. The ever-increasing cost of college for middle-class families has reinforced the sad statistic that wealth and privilege almost always matter more than intrinsic merit. We can’t be satisfied with that outcome. Consider this fact: For decades, investment in public higher education has steadily declined. Not good. Not democratic. While we’re at it, unless they can be seriously monitored, and we mean seriously, let’s move away from the concept of for-profit charter schools, for-profit universities and for-profit prisons. They have already proven themselves unusually subject to private greed and corruption.

      1. Consider this fact: For decades, investment in public higher education has steadily declined.

        This person does not live in reality.

        Step 1: Be completely delusional about the world and announce this fact by writing a retarded article.
        Step 2: ????
        Step 3: PROFIT Profits are evil and should be closely monitored. And we mean seriously monitored.

      2. “Democratic” – another word they have drained of all meaning.

    6. “The government has run AmeriCorps successfully. Multiply that by a thousand.”

      For the record, ‘Americorp’ costs a billion $ annually.

      So, a trillion $ entitlement for teens, then?

      To force people to do government mandated labor where they could just has well simply ‘gotten a job’ doing something that actually needs doing, for a appropriate wage?

      Sounds brilliant.

    7. A math whiz from Vermont can teach high school kids in Zuni, New Mexico.

      I’m down with this. My wife taught on a reservation for three years in New Mexico and it turned her from a hardcore leftist into a centrist liberal.

  4. Our long national nightmare is over. Content is back.

    1. What does this movie say about Millenials, though?

  5. Too bad it won’t have the main character from the show. He’s only been dead for five years. Poor timing.

  6. Ron Bailey should be very proud. Even leftists are trashing Naomi Klein’s new book as ‘a pastoral fantasy.’

    The story reiterates one of Klein’s favorite themes ? that corporations and governments use free trade laws to dismantle climate regulations and stymie clean energy. There’s only one problem with that interpretation of the Ontario episode: it’s completely wrong. Whatever the arguments against free trade, there’s no doubt that solar power has thrived on it; indeed, the worldwide solar boom is largely due to the global trade in cheap Chinese solar panels, which have sent prices plummeting. Recent protectionist import barriers imposed on them have perceptibly slowed solar installations in the US and EU.

    This article is actually more of an ass kicking than Bailey’s was because this guy is a prog. He just happens to be a smart enough prog to see that Klein is selling snake oil.

    Also, the EU and US slowed the implementation of solar power?!? Impossible! Governments are us and we would never do something like that.

    1. Of course the only reason those Chinese solar panels are so cheap is because the Chinese government subsidizes the hell out of them.

      And I am not seeing how there has been a “solar boom”. What I see is various cronies in Europe and the US looting the taxpayer in the form or green energy subsidies.

      1. Exactly. His point about free trade is right though.

        At other points in the article he mentions that the two most effective clean energy sources are hydro-electric and nuclear, both of which Klein and other environmentalists hate. That’s a pretty compelling point.

        He also totally calls the fact that Klein doesn’t give a fuck about the environment and is using it as an excuse to enact her economic policies.

      2. He also beats the ever loving shit out of the claim that Germany’s got an effective green energy sector:

        German energy policy owes less to rational planning than to haphazard political calculations shaped by every pressure group from antinuclear protesters to the large industrial firms that are exempted from the renewable energy surcharges that are boosting ordinary citizens’ electric bills. The result has been a chaotic program marked by boom-and-bust cycles (never mind the nuclear phase-out; Germany’s solar installation rate has collapsed by 70 percent over the last two years), crippling costs and hasty legislative improvisations to correct the blunders of previous improvisations.

        The Energiewende’s performance is as unattractive as its politics. A seldom noted aspect of Germany’s renewable energy is that much of it comes from biomass burning, which generates 28 percent of its renewable electricity. Half of Germany’s timber harvest is now burned for heating and electric power, and 17 percent of its arable land is used to grow energy crops, a proportion that may rise to one third by 2020. Many environmentalists are aghast at the slash-and-burn segment of Germany’s “clean” energy sector.

        A government program having unintended consequences and causing boom and bust cycles?!? No way!

  7. I missed this last week – remember the Black Mass in Oklahoma, and the Reason article about the Fox News priest who said the Satanists should have been censored?

    Only they weren’t. This was just a guy saying they *should* have been.

    Meanwhile, there was some *actual* censorship, only it was against the anti-Satanists.

    Here’s what a cop supposedly said when arresting David Grisham, who was *protesting* the black mass:

    “you’re [sic] right to free speech stops when I tell you to shut up.”

    It seems this guy was using a megaphone to rebuke people who were coming to the black mass through a side door. This seems to have been an abuse of free speech, unlike the black mass itself. I mean, you have to draw the line *somewhere.*

    Oh, and there’s this:

    “Joan Andrews, 66, was also arrested. Police say she was kneeling and praying and refusing to leave the steps of the Civic Center after she was asked to leave.”

    So we see that this isn’t Somalia, and there *are* limitations on what you can say and where you can say it!……

    1. But black masses are cool. Protesting them is not. So the free speech issues relating to the two are totally different.

      Free speech means cool speech not the right to do uncool things.

      1. Needs Moar Ozzy

    2. Weird – the link was working a minute ago – here’s a link to the Oklahoman – CAUTION – AUTOPLAY.…..le/5344594

      1. Here’s the guy’s account:

        “At this point, a plain clothes police officer bull rushed us and yelled at me, ” If you say one more word you are going to jail!” I asked him why and he accused me of asking the satanists for a “fight”. i corrected him and said we were encouraging them to only talk to us and then I repeated my invitation to the satanists to engage us in conversation and he immediately arrested me. He walked me to the Oklahoma County Detention Center about a block or so away. I plead my case with him along the way trying to argue my rights and at one point he said, ” Your right of free speech ends when I tell you to shut up” Arguing my rights was futile and I was booked.”…..lack-mass/

        1. The cops seem to have done to the protesters what Fr. Morris wanted to do to the Satanists – charge them with incitement.

    3. police received a bomb threat tied to the event, authorities said Monday.

      Well…isn’t that peaceful?

      1. Perhaps the police should arrest that guy and not peaceful protesters.

        1. Agreed. That person sounds like he has no issues with threatening initiation of force in the name of his beliefs.

          1. Perhaps they could have used the personnel and resources they employed to suppress free speech, and instead used those personnel and resources to catch the guy who made the threat.

            1. Agreed. Sounds like he might belong to some sort of terror group.

              1. My sarcasm detector is off. Are you sarcastic?

                1. Eddie, I don’t really have any problem with your beliefs. I don’t share them, but I figure if you are going to wear them on your sleeve, you ought to be able to take some ribbing about them. That’s all it is. You press buttons…I press buttons back. No animosity.

                  I’m simply fucking with you.

                  1. Oh, that’s all right, then.

                    1. But on a serious note, look at from my perspective. Reason decides to discuss the question of First Amendment issues surrounding the Oklahoma black mass. Having decided to cover that topic, you’d think they’d mention that the two people arrested at that event for their protest activities were both *anti*-Satanist.

                      No, Reason gave *all* its attention to a priest who said the Satanists should be censored.

                      Now, if Reason was aware of the two arrests (and I’m trying to make them aware), then I hope they’d cover it. But I doubt they were out front looking for such stories, since they’re operating on a frame of “right-wing theocrats *versus* free speech.”

                      I dunno, if I complain about unfairness to “my side,” does that mean I’m wearing my beliefs on my sleeve? Well, call it what you will, but you can see there’s legitimate issues here even if *I* had to be the one to raise them.

                    2. And if it happened as alleged, the cop’s remark that “Your right of free speech ends when I tell you to shut up” should be total Reason-bait.

                    3. I agree, Eddie. 1A should apply, and be covered, equally for both sides. One story was as bad as the other. It’s just a bit more edgy to side with Satanists than with Christians as Christians are the norm.

                      When I say you wear your beliefs on your sleeve, I’m referring to the perception that you come here seeking religious debate.

                      Not anything wrong with that. That’s your thing. Got it. We all have certain topics we’d prefer to debate over others.

  8. If they are down to making a movie from the Equalizer, what 80s TV show is next? TJ Hooker? Greatest American Hero?

    How about Hill Street Blues? Cop dramas always sell tickets and that show has a following. And it would create a market for the old reruns.

    1. The Facts of Life

      1. That was George Clooney’s best role

  9. So is Denzel the King of Remakes yet?

    The Equalizer
    Man on Fire
    The Manchurian Candidate
    The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
    The Preacher’s Wife

    1. And none of those movies are any good. I like Denzel and think he is one of the few real movie stars left. He owes himself better than bad remakes.

      Denzel should have known better than to be involved with The Manchurian Candidate and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. If remakes can work, they have to be remakes of flawed movies like Oceans 11 not great ones like those two.

      1. I don’t disagree about the remake of the Manchurian Candidate being crap…

        But Man on Fire and The Equalizer are two very good action movies. It’s refreshing to see an action star that doesn’t look like a roid freak or who runs like a girl (Segal)….

        I saw The Equalizer last night and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t too long, and it had enough violence and perceived violence to be well worth the ticket price and a bag of popcorn.

        Pretty much the only thing left from the TV show is the name. It didn’t even do the “past” thing the same as the show about Denzel’s character..

        1. I love Man on Fire and have watched it a few times over the years. It’s a great revenge flick with no basis in reality at all. Who wants it to be realistic, anyway? In a realistic Man on Fire, CBP would ask the dark man what he was doing going south without his master’s permission. Then they would imprison him for 10 years while they searched for drug evidence.

          Instead we get a great example of what we’d love to do to our enemies if we were unencumbered by laws and reality.

          1. Totally agree. Revenge flicks don’t have to be based in reality… hell, movies don’t. I find criticism of “realism” in movies silly.

            Realism isn’t a substitute for a good story… The Equalizer is a good story bolstered by a SUPERB performance by Denzel. He nailed this character. He _is_ The Equalizer in 2014. 🙂

            1. Lord of the Rings was totally not real.

              1. Oh sure, now you’re going to tell me there’s no Santa Claus either! You MONSTER.

  10. No food post from LinkedIn today?

  11. That Salon thing is a masterpiece of derp. He hit nearly every bit of prog agitprop:

    “Both state and national governments need to pool their intellectual resources and come up with experimental means of making college affordable.”

    Yeah, because we all know how government excels at keeping costs down.

    “You shouldn’t be able to put a compassionate face on corporate greed. Let’s get priorities straight: Instead of permitting them to twist facts, make polluters pay for TV ads that aggressively promote a clean-energy economy.”


    “And is there some way to free the airwaves from the pestilential noise generated by those ideologues who shout ignorantly about getting government off their backs?”

    [two-handed face palm]

    1. There *is* a way – just ask Robespierre.

  12. The movie changes the city setting from New York to Boston, perhaps out of deference to the Big Apple’s massive drop in street crime over the last two and a half decades.

    Huh, strange… why didn’t they go to Chicago… or DC? I mean, where else in the country are you going to find a bigger hive of scum and villainy than DC?

    1. Should have set it in Memphis, TN.

      Also, Denzel’s next remake should be Condorman.

    2. Or maybe they went to Boston because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to film there.

  13. So I won’t spend $10 to see this. I’ll see it at the $2.50 place when the time comes (if it’s convenient then).

    I knew something was wrong when I heard Eminem in the trailer. That’s about as far as you can get from Stewart Copeland’s TV soundtrack.

    1. It really is a good revenge flick. It’s not perfect, and there are some rather large plot-holes if you really want to skewer a movie… but they’re Speilberg-esque… so you don’t really feel cheated.

      I never remember Eminem in the soundtrack, but then again, I couldn’t tell you an Eminem song beyond the oft-parodied “Slim Shady”… The regular tension-building soundtrack is quite menacingly good, and you genuinely feel part of the story, because the overall narrative isn’t botched by voiceovers, and it’s not gratuitous.

      Some of Denzel’s character’s work is not even visualized in the movie. The end is the only thing you see, and that is satisfying in that you can let your imagination run wild how he worked on “problem X.”

      I didn’t pay full price to see it (matinee), but I would say it’s worth a matinee… and if you liked MoF, it’d be worth full price.

      YMMV…. No warranties expressed or implied… may cause uncontrollable rectal discharge, all rights reserved.

  14. Saw it yesterday. Good matinee quality revenge fare. As Suderman said yesterday, Man on Fire-y. If you like that sort of thing.

  15. Equalizer? I just met her.

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