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Monday 18 December 2017

Equalizer? This yawn is more of a tranquiliser

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ah, The Equalizer - the late-night equivalent of the A-Team as Edward Woodward took on the bad guys for the little guy.

His role is reprised here as Denzel Washington teams up with his Training Day Antoine Fuqua director for an all-action reboot of the classic series. Washington plays ex-special ops army man Robert McCall.

Nowadays, like Fifty Shades' Anastasia Steele, he works in a DIY store. The big difference is that she takes her whippings, while McCall is the guy who dishes out the punishment.

A man with a sad past, he spends much of his time, alone, reading in a diner. Over time he gets to know teenage call girl Alina (Chloe Grace Moretz), one of the few people (apart from colleagues) in his life.

But mild-mannered McCall is dragged back to his dark old days after Alina is beaten up by her Russian mobster pimp Slavi (David Meunier).

McCall makes Slavi and his pals an offer they shouldn't refuse: $9,800 to buy her out of sexual slavery. Guess what, they laugh in his face, which really is a bad idea as he massacres them in their own office.

Having your men on the ground in Boston whacked isn't good for business, and head mobster Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) despatches enforcer Teddy (Marton Csokas) to catch McCall.

Along the way McCall hooks up with former associates Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) and Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) to help him identify Teddy before he gets to him first.

McCall is also busy helping out other downtrodden folk in a city where most of the cops are portrayed as being on the take and as dodgy as hell.

While Washington is a sure-fire recipe for success, it's not one of his better movies, and no fault of his own. The Russians are straight out of central casting, and Csokas, while looking a bit weedy, is the only one who stands out with his eerie sense of menace. Very violent, and a decent enough watch, but that's about it.

DVD extras: Lots of stuff, including a focus on how Washington prepared for the role; a spoof ad for his character's hardware store; and plenty of making-of featurettes.

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