Flashback Friday: Denzel Washington as ‘The Equalizer’

This weekend, Denzel Washington rides for justice once more as the leader of “The Magnificent Seven”: reuniting the Oscar winner with director Antoine Fuqua and his “Training Day” Oscar-nominated co-star Ethan Hawke.  A remake of the classic 1960 Western, Denzel leads Ethan, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, and others on the impossible as hired guns protecting a widow and her oppressed town from a ruthless industrialist (Peter Sarsgaard).  

But back in the fall of 2014, Denzel Washington went from being a corrupt cop in 2001’s “Training Day” to fighting one when he collaborated with Fuqua to become “The Equalizer”.

Based on the mid-late 1980s CBS spy/detective series that starred Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Edward Woodward, the film focused on Denzel as Robert McCall, a former covert operative living a quiet life working at a Home Depot-like store and spending his restless nights at a 24-hour diner reading books.  When McCall befriends a young prostitute named Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), he decides to become a knight in shining armor: protecting the innocent, serving justice against Russian mobsters and corrupt cops.

To illustrate, “The Equalizer” is “Man on Fire” 2.0 with John Creasy reborn as Robert McCall: using the tools that was needed to fix the problems of those who are unable to help themselves – just like brooding ex-spy John Reese (Jim Caviezel) from CBS’ “Person of Interest”, the series that was influenced by The Equalizer of the small screen.

“The Equalizer” of the big screen joins “Taken 3” with Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, the ex-spy using those particular set of skills of his to protect his daughter, avoid law enforcement and government agencies, and hunt down the people who framed him for the murder of his ex-wife.  “John Wick” is another with Keanu Reeves back with a vengeance as the titular protagonist: a former hitman applying his deadly trade once more against those who broke into his house, beat him up and left him for dead, stole his vintage Mustang, and killed his dog.  Also in 2014 was FOX’s “24: Live Another Day” with Golden Globe and Emmy winner Kiefer Sutherland saving London and the entire world (again!) from terrorists (again!) as trained ex-government assassin, wanted fugitive, soldier, and all-American hero Jack Bauer.

“The Equalizer” – then and now – remains the same: standing up for the little guy and the helpless, fighting for those who can’t fight back against the bullies.



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