Monday, September 25, 2023


September 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

If the star of The Equalizer had not been Denzel Washington, chances are the movie would have received scathing reviews. But, in the minds of many critics, Washington offsets a dopey plot and hamfisted scenes of violence to give the movie a big dose of coolness and style. As Joe Neumaier puts it in the New York Daily News: Washington "continues to push himself to new areas and fine-tune his charisma. He remains one of Hollywood’s most effortless and engaging actors." Or as Lou Lumenick puts it in the New York Post: "Washington is a master at putting his own inimitable and stylish spin on even the most familiar situations." A.O. Scott in the New York Times remarks that the actor is required to deliver "self-help catchphrases that would sound silly coming from anyone other than Mr. Washington." He is, writes Scott, an actor "whose craft and discipline endow even exploitative nonsense like this with a center of gravity." Not all of the critics would write off the movie as "exploitative nonsense." The violence in it, Peter Howell observes in the Toronto Star, is intended to be of the "comic book" variety. In fact, he comments, some of the scenes are so cartoonish "you may wonder why the frames aren’t separated by white panels or why Sin City‘s Frank Miller or Watchmen’s Alan Moore aren’t somehow involved.." It’s all "silly but irresistible" to Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle "It could never have been a great movie," he concludes, "but between Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, it’s as good as it could be, as in good enough to keep audiences glued to the seat for more than two hours." But is "good enough" sufficient praise? Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal thinks not. He writes: "The question isn’t who wants it — box office action is assured — but who needs it?"