The Equalizer is based on the 1985 TV show and has Denzel Washington playing Robert McCall. He was played by Edward Woodward on TV. Woodward's McCall was an easy-to-find detective while Washington's take works practically incognito at a chain hardware store. Tired of killing and dastardly CIA deeds, McCall wants to reinvent himself.
He can't resist being a do-gooder. All do-gooding results in violent confrontations, creative chaos and bloody deaths. Meddling in the life of a young prostitute and killing goons from her Russian mob pimp gets McCall on the bad side of Teddy, the movie's baddie.
Antoine Fuqua got raves directing Washington in Training Day. He's a brilliant camera tactician, and this one is fun to watch. Too bad Richard Wenk's script doesn't match Fuqua's enthusiasm with the camera. The two take McCall and Teddy on a slow-as-molasses-route to the final, violent, predictable confrontation.
Even in bad movies, it is impossible not to like Washington. He's terrific in banter bits with Chloe Grace Moretz (If I Stay) and the unknown Johnny Skourtis, who plays an overweight co-worker with eyes on a security officer job.
You really feel sorry for Martin Csokas, who plays Teddy, and his side-kick David Harbour (A Walk Among the Tombstones), who are the film's villains. They suffer from deadly dumb dialogue and plot lines.
The Equalizer shows once again that Hollywood is out of ideas. Not only does this vehicle recycle a 1980s TV show, but it reprocesses plot themes, action sequences and characters -- most of them cliche -- from dozens of movies.
If you're not already yawning, you will be 20 minutes into this long clunker. The Equalizer is unequal to its most excellent cast.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Johnny Skourtis, Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman
Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars
Rated R for violence, language and mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 10, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.
-- Check Mr. Movie's reviews at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie and let him know what you think.