I don't rush to see Denzel Washington's pictures. It's been a while since I have. It's not because I'm not a fan; I'm a huge admirer of his work. And it's not because he makes poor choices in films; he does not. It's oddly because he's so reliable, dependable, trusted that I'm never eagerly anticipating his latest film because I might be surprised. I'll eventually see all of his pictures and I enjoy them, and, well, that's about it. I don't talk about them for days.
Washington's latest film with director Antoine Fuqua, Equalizer (based on the Edward Woodward series of the '80s) is fiercely entertaining and highly watchable, with winning performances from Washington, Marton Csokas as the Russia killing machine Teddy, and Chloe Grace Maretz as a feisty young Russian hooker named Teri. Washington plays Robert McCall, a widowed, anal retentive home improvement retail clerk with a murky past and a soft spot for troubled souls. His well-ordered life of midnight tea and classic literature in a neighborhood diner is disrupted by a battered Teri, whose two-fisted pimp works for a Russian mobster named Pushkin. When McCall makes a call on Teri's battering handler to try to purchase her freedom, the visit ends with five men dead and the cold-blooded sociopath Teddy on the hunt for the weaponless ghost. The film, tautly directed by Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen), plays to the audience's outrage and, yes, bloodlust and features a clever climax in a darkened hardware store -- death by lawn and garden supplies. Recommended but not for kids or the squeamish.