The Equalizer (2014) Poster

Image Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455944/

WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS about the the movie The Equalizer

I was super excited to see The Equalizer, not just because of all the hype surrounding it, but also Denzel Washington. But I came out really disappointed. And angry. I thought of doing a rant, but you know what they say about a picture and a thousand words. So here it is: The Cow’s Summary of . . .


Part Une: In Which Denzel Helps People

Meet Denzel. He is an average Nice Guy who works at WalDepotHomeMart. Denzel spends his days being stoic and doing nice things for people.

Post6bDenzel has trouble sleeping, so he spends his night at a nearby diner, reading and teaching a teen-aged Chloe Grace Moretz literature.


Some of you may know Chloe as the ass-kicking star of Kickass1 and 2. Others may know her as the star of movies like If I Stay and Carrie. In short, she’s a pretty big deal. Everyone knows she can act, so I expected her to have a good, meaty role. Silly me. She was present for the first 15 minutes of the film, and then she got beaten up by her Russian pimp, which effectively fulfilled her role as That Thing Wot Triggered Denzel’s Quest.

Part Deux: In Which Denzel Goes On A Killing Rampage (But It Is Okay Because They Are All Bad Guys And He Is Not The Bad Guy He Is The Good Guy And You Know This Because In Between Killing Bad Guys He Does Nice Things For People)

Post6dThe Russian mob is kinda annoyed that someone made all their men all dead, so they send this dude who looks like a thinner version of Kevin Spacey to hunt down Denzel.


Cue scenes of Thin Kevin Spacey doing Bad Stuff like beating patriotic Americans to death and killing Chloe Grace Moretz’s friend, who is only the second female character to make an appearance at this point, btw. Or maybe the third. You’d think Boston’s population is 90% men.


These scenes are juxtaposed with Denzel doing Good Stuff, like beating up two dirty cops who were extorting money from Ralphie’s mom’s pupusa place. (Yay, saving yet more wimmin!) Which is all fine and good for Denzel, but RALPHIE, IN THE FEWCHER, LEARN TO USE THE VIDEO FUNCTION ON YOUR PHONE TO RECORD THESE COPS COMING IN AND TAKING MONEY, OKAY?? Is that not like the first thing people do when faced with threats??! Seriously, Ralphie, get your shit together man.

There are also a lot of moments between Denzel and Thin Kevin Spacey wherein they stare deep into each other’s eyes and swear to kill each other.




All the heat! All the tenshun! Over a character who is hardly seen or heard from throughout the entire movie! Seriously, Chloe Grace Moretz makes an appearance in this movie purely to get beaten up and get Denzel all angry. I can’t even with the cliches here.

Part Trois: In Which Denzel Kills Everybody (But It Is Still Okay Because He Only Does It To Save Chloe)

So after a whole bunch of staring and vowing to end each other’s lives, Denzel and Thin Kevin Spacey finally have a showdown at Ace Hardware HomeMart. I have to take a moment here to show my favoritest scene in this entire movie: That moment you’re stepping backwards cautiously in the dark, knowing there’s a trained killer inside the building with you . . . and you feel the sharp end of an electric drill touch the back of your heid.

Well played, Denzel. Well played.

So that guy dies, because a drill eating into your brain tends to do that, and then Denzel kills everybody else, including Thin Kevin Spacey. Then Denzel flies to Russia to finish off the mob boss. The mob boss lives in a mansion with many bodyguards, but Denzel slices through them all like an electric drill through someone’s hea–err, sorry.

Post6jAnyway, Denzel kills all the mean Russians and then heads back to Boston, where he dedicates his time to saving even more people. The End. So to recap:

Post6kPost6l Post6mPost6n

There are other female characters in the movie, such as Ralphie’s mom (Notable Moment: Being victimized by asshole cops) and Denzel’s old colleague from the CIA (Notable Moment: Giving Denzel information on Thin Kevin Spacey).

Do you guys see why I was so pissed off by the movie? Aside from the straight-up predictability of the plot, that is. But what really got my blood boiling was . . . Well, let’s see. There were plenty of male characters, many of them active, multi-layered characters with clear motivations. Even Mr. I-don’t-know-how-to-use-video-cameras Ralphie is an active character who has motivation (be a security guard), works hard to achieve that (lose weight to meet the requirements), and ends up saving Denzel. But out of a scant number of FOUR women in the show, only ONE does something remotely active (the CIA agent who gives Denzel info). The other three women serve one sole purpose throughout the movie: To be victimized.

When I pointed out the discrepancy to Mr. Cow, he said, “But it won’t be realistic to have an equal number of women in the show. Russian mobsters aren’t exactly known for hiring women.” Admittedly I don’t know how many women Russian mobsters tend to hire, but I highly doubt that having a handful of women in the gang is going to break the suspension of disbelief. I’m not even asking for a 50:50 ratio here. I’d be totes happy with 70:30. Heck, even 90:10 is better than what we currently have, which is 100:0.

And what about characters like Ralphie, or that dirty cop? Why not make THEM women? Even if both Ralphie and Dirty Cop were female, the end result would still be around 70% male, 30% female. Last I heard, there are plenty of female security guards and female cops in the States. Why do those roles have to go to male actors? Or how about giving existing female characters more meaning rather than to act solely as a plot device to spur the male characters?

Come on, Hollywood. It’s 2014. We can do so much better than this. We need to do so much better than this.

ETA: Here’s an excellent post that shows how long this problem has been going on and how insidious it is.

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  • So, um … my takeaway is …

    1) It’s better to buy a cordless drill, in case you have to drill them bad peoples.
    2) It’s better to buy a drill with a lithium-ion battery (long lasting), in case you have to go abroad to drill bad peoples and forget to bring a travel adapter for the charger.
    3) Moby Dick should be banned, cuz it’s clearly the gateway book to a drilling habit.

    Was there drill product placement in this film?

    • If there was, it was crappy product placement because I totally missed the brand of the drill. Which must be a good drill to go through all that bone and…well, I guess after the bone there’s just soft tissue. *grosses self out* Eww

    • I may or may not have a funny…or not so funny…story from college about a guy with a circ saw and an innocent group of Japanese tourists. The story is only funny because the circ saw was a corded one, and the cord ran out.

      (I wasn’t there for this, I note, so it also may be an urban legend, embellished by alumni for credulous underclassmen.)

    • Bwahahaha! Oh man, this is hilarious, because my friend and I were JUST talking about how Liam Neeson and Denzel should’ve totally switched roles. “Liam walks around calmly and badassedly and Denzel angrily searches for someone kidnapped. You know, switch it up,” was what she said. 😀

    • Yes! How could I forget Mel Gibson? With his braveheart, he’d surely payback all of them with passion. But I think Denzel would win, since he’d simply set the other two on fire.

      • Is it wrong that as soon as I see “set the other two on fire”, I think of Katniss in Catching Fire…? Huuurrrr. 😀 Can we just put all three of them in a Hunger Games arena with Katniss narrating the events?

  • So I just saw this movie. I thought it was pretty good. Formulaic. It is violent, but the violence is not as cringe-inducing as The Raid 2, which I saw the night before. I don’t remember the 80s version being this violent. Heh. It helped that I like Denzel. He has a lot of screen charisma, so I like just about everything he is in. The same goes for Tom Cruise. The film reminded me of Man on Fire, which is the same story but better. Maybe it’s that I’m getting old, I guess I like movies where old men kick ass – like all the recent Liam Neeson movies.

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