The Equalizer 2014

Critics score:
61 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Wesley Morris, Grantland: I could have done without the barbed-wire noose and glass-shard fight on shattered mirrors. But I couldn't have done without Washington, who, like Liam Neeson, has reached a new cruising altitude as a leading man. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Washington is a master at putting his own inimitable and stylish spin on even the most familiar situations. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The whole movie turns into a slaughterhouse. The question isn't who wants it-box office action is assured-but who needs it? Read more

Soren Anderson, Seattle Times: The line separating the bad guys from the good is almost nonexistent. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: Ponderously overlong and not even half as much fun as it should have been ... Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: As entertainment, The Equalizer rarely delivers: It's like a superhero origin story invested with half-assed gravitas. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Truly, you don't have to watch former secret agents relentlessly wipe out villains. But if you want to, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone better than Washington for the task. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: Fuqua isn't the only one desperate to elevate the routine material; screenwriter David Wenk shoehorns in a needless subplot in which the hero mentors a young loser... and Washington grandstands his way through several heated soliloquys. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: This one's strictly for those who enjoyed "Man on Fire," the other prominent kid-protection fable, slick and bloodthirsty, in the Washington oeuvre. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: This is a kid's fantasy of how to be bigger and badder than anybody else. As for Washington, no doubt he now has his very own franchise. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ Just having Washington in the title role elevates the film from a tired rerun - complete with (yawn) brutal Russian mobsters - to a rousing, crowd-pleasing take on a movie formula, like a forgettable pop song turned into a dizzying jazz solo. Read more

Joe McGovern, Entertainment Weekly: One long and loathsome bore of a movie. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: The most exciting, violent and stylish film of its type in a very long while. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: A tense thriller that also has more on its mind than the familiar genre constraints it operates under. Read more

Tony Hicks, San Jose Mercury News: The movie is what it is: Good guy vs. bad guy, let's see who wins. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Fuqua's movie is just as dopey and creaky as the series. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: The director, Antoine Fuqua, relies on small details, which anchor the vigilante-as-saint myth in at least a minimal degree of reality. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: This mini-genre has begun to feel more and more expendable. Read more

Chris Klimek, NPR: It scrapes together two gripping, closely observed acts before lobotomizing itself for an over-the-top final third that tips the needle from "Pleasure" to "Pleasure, Guilty, Shame on You!" Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Washington, now 60, continues to push himself to new areas and fine-tune his charisma. He remains one of Hollywood's most effortless and engaging actors. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Mr. Fuqua, while not the world's most subtle filmmaker, directs the action sequences with bluntness and clarity and effectively uses his star as an oasis of calm in a jumpy, nasty universe. Read more

Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: "The Equalizer" grows tiresome and formulaic. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: If audiences and star are so inclined, it's easy to see this premise and this character - a tough, taciturn gent burdened with regret and a very special skill set - going into Roman numerals. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Fuqua infuses The Equalizer with a low-key energy and is in no hurry to rush into things. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The film runs long, at 131 minutes, but Denzel Washington, as ever, is the essence of cool. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, If you skip it, you're missing one of the year's signal works of superior Hollywood craftsmanship. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: "The Equalizer" fulfills the first demand of a movie of this kind. It presents us with an evil so horrible so as to give us complete license to want to see it wiped off the face of the Earth. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A guilty-pleasure platform for Washington's slow-cooked, kick-butt heroism. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: More and better Equalizers will be welcome, just to watch Denzel finding new ways of getting even. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: We're given precious little story (or back story) from screenwriter Richard Wenk (The Expendables 2), but not much is needed for a tale this primal and an actor this watchable. Read more

James Rocchi, TheWrap: Willfully empty but wildly entertaining, "The Equalizer" stands out from its peers like a wolf among lapdogs, as Fuqua and Washington bring out the best in each other for the benefit of the audience. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: It gets sillier as it goes along, but it's never not entertaining. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: The Equalizer is a stone-dumb movie, unwilling to allow Washington even a hint of uniqueness (apart from the usual silverware straightening and public book reading, shorthand cliches for "smart"). Read more

Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: It's great if that's what you're into, but is this the best use our culture has for a talent like Denzel Washington? Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: When was the last time you saw a lone hero stride toward the climactic killing ground in slow motion? Yesterday? An hour ago? Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: Even drenched in blood and fake rain, this "Equalizer" leaves its star - and the audience - high and dry. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: If The Equalizer is the hit it should be, it will give this veteran action star his very first movie franchise. Read more