It was a winning formula in 1980s TV. Take someone with a “special set of skills” (“Taken” reference) and have them use those skills to help average people who would normally collapse under the weight of their above average problems.
The A-Team did it – Vietnam vets who returned home to wage war on crime. And the 1980s TV version of “The Equalizer” did it as well, featuring Robert McCall, a retired CIA agent who uses his skills to help those in need.
Denzel Washington is back with the second installment in a movie series about that character. This time around, he’s a Lyft driver, who travels the streets of Boston. When he overhears the problems of his passengers, he can’t help but use his skills to intervene. Anything is on the table, from locating and extracting a kidnapped child to avenging an abused prostitute.
In this version, Denzel’s main task is to locate the killer of a former CIA colleague. Pedro Pascal of “Game of Thrones” fame joins in the hunt as another CIA colleague who thought McCall was long dead.
I debated if this was the best plot for the film. There are movies about active CIA agents galore and “The Equalizer’s” appeal is in him helping everyday people on his own, using the knowledge he gained from the CIA but without the benefit of CIA resources. Apparently, someone involved with the production realized that, as side stories where McCall helps the helpless in his orbit abound.
This films are good distractions. Enjoyable and sometimes it is life affirming just to get some on screen fatherly advise from Denzel. Not every mission requires a gun. Advice for neighborhood kids to stay off drugs and stay in school abound. It’d be hokey if his advice weren’t so good, delivered from a man who has seen it all and knows how badly a person’s life will turn out if his warnings aren’t heeded. “I’ve seen it all so do as I say or fall on your face, it’s no skin off my nose” has been Denzel’s bag in a number of films for quite some time now.
If Denzel is reading this fine blog, and I don’t see why he wouldn’t because this blog is awesome, I hope he’ll consider a television reboot of “The Equalizer.” I know he’s a big star, but stars just as big have found success in television and TV isn’t the end of an acting career that it used to be. I could see a big budget weekly show where McCall helps a new civilian as a success.
Then again, maybe McCall doesn’t have anything to prove and Denzel doesn’t either.