Denzel Washington doesn’t have to say a word. He can do more with a move, a head tilt, a shot of fire in the eye than most actors do with pages of dialogue. That’s a star, baby. Washington drives The Equalizer, an updated, ultraviolent take on the 1980s TV series starring Edward Woodward. Now it’s Washington’s turn to step into the role of retired special-ops agent Robert McCall. He uses a job at a Boston Home Depot-like store as a cover while he heaps rough justice on criminal scum.
The material shows its age when McCall goes all Taxi Driver to save a teen hooker (a scrappy Chloë Grace Moretz) from her pimps. But Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, who teamed for the actor’s Oscar-winning role in 2001’s Training Day, keep the action humming. The film runs long, at 131 minutes, but the takedown of a psycho Russian fixer (Marton Csokas) is sweet agony, and Washington, as ever, is the essence of cool.