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The Equalizer rumbles into theaters this weekend, connecting several elements of the past into a contemporary, bone-crushing thriller. The movie adapts a little-known television property from the mid- to late-80s. And in doing so, it finally reunites Training Day collaborators Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua on a project… something they’ve been trying to do since that 2001 Oscar winner.
Not that the reunion was all fun and games. The film stars Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a quiet and unassuming loner who frequents a late-night Boston diner where he befriends a kind but battered teen prostitute (played, with dignity, by Chloe Grace Moretz). When the young girl crosses a line and ends up physically abused, McCall reveals his true colors. A former Black Ops soldier, McCall goes after the Russian mobsters who hurt his friend – and in doing so, invites the vengeful wrath of some heavy-hitting European gangsters. Things get about as bloody as you would imagine.
There is a scene in The Equalizer, though, that I’ve already written about at length. It is part of the film’s conclusion – the confrontation between McCall and his chief adversary, Teddy (Marton Csokas). The scene is set in a tool warehouse (think Home Depot), in the dark, the cold… and the artificial rain. You see, the sprinkler system has been triggered by Denzel’s character, which makes for a moody set. But also a VERY difficult shoot. When I asked Denzel Washington about it during our exclusive interview, he explained that he understood how cool it looked, but after awhile, he didn’t give a damn!
The chemistry on display in that clip infuses the smaller moments in The Equalizer, a movie that doesn’t ignore the episodic nature of its source material. Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall is a man with (lethal) secrets. But he also gets involved with people’s lives because he cares – and he knows he has the ability to help them. Sometimes that means taking down corrupt police officers who are extorting small business for money. Sometimes it means helping an overweight co-worker train for a security detail. And sometimes, it means sticking a corkscrew in some Russian’s jaw because he abused the wrong girl.
The Equalizer opens in theaters on Friday. If Sony gets its way, and audiences support it, it could be the start of a long, healthy and hard-hitting franchise for Washington, Fuqua and the industry.