Equalizer, The: Vengeance Edition (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 22-Jan-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Inside The Equalizer (7:51)
Featurette-Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero (6:56)
Featurette-Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua (7:06)
Featurette-Children of the Night (5:23)
Featurette-One Man Army: Training and Fighting (6:40)
Featurette-Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time (2:11)
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-A Walk Among the Tombstones, John Wick
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 132:02
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Antoine Fuqua
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Denzel Washington
Chloe Grace Moretz
Marton Csokas
David Harbour
Johnny Skourtis
David Meunier
Bill Pullman
Melissa Leo

Case ?
RPI ? Music Harry Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is ostensibly an ordinary man. He works as a storemen in a home improvement warehouse in Boston, catches the bus to work, is helpful and friendly to other employees, including taking time to assist Ralphie (Johnny Skourtis) lose weight to achieve his ambition of becoming a security guard. But McCall has demons: he lives alone in a spartan apartment, is obsessive about neatness and order and cannot sleep, spending the early hours of each morning in a diner where he reads classic books such as The Old Man and the Sea. Another frequenter of the diner is young prostitute Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is owned and controlled by a local Russian gang led by Slavi (David Meunier).

     McCall and Teri form a tentative bond through conversations so when Teri is badly beaten by Slavi and ends up in hospital McCall feels he cannot step away. McCall goes to see Slavi and attempts to buy Teri’s freedom; but things quickly get ugly and McCall reveals exceptional unarmed combat skills, killing all five men in the room in 19 seconds! McCall soon discovers that Slavi and his men were only the local gangsters of a coast to coast Russian mafia and Teddy (Marton Csokas), a psychopath and cold blooded killer, is sent to Boston to find out what had happened. Utilising crooked cops on the Russian payroll, including Detective Frank Masters (David Harbour), Teddy tracks down McCall and it becomes an all-out war between the Russians, and the Equalizer!

     The Equalizer is based upon the TV series of the same name that starred Edward Woodward and ran between 1985 and 1989. The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who has worked with Denzel Washington before in the well regarded Training Day (2001). They have a good rapport, as shown in the extras on this Blu-ray, and Fuqua directs The Equalizer in an unfussy style, allowing the actors to do their thing. Indeed The Equalizer is not primarily an action film, although there are some well-staged action sequences, but instead it is a character drama about a man with a violent past who just wants to live an ordinary life but who cannot just step aside and watch little people being hurt or exploited by those with more power. As an “everyman” Denzel Washington is superb as Robert McCall; his past history is never explained in any detail but he is obviously a man in denial, closed in upon himself with an obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifests itself in little things such as the arranging of cutlery. The scenes where McCall opens up slightly to an excellent Chloe Grace Moretz in the diner are beautifully played and, despite the lack of a backstory we care for Teri, her youth, intelligence and vulnerability, so we understand why McCall makes the decisions he does. Each everymen hero needs a worthy adversary and here Marton Csokas is also very good. Teddy is clearly a psychopath, but Csokas does not play him as someone over the top but as a man who is menacing, calculating and utterly ruthless; the scene where Teddy and McCall meet in a restaurant, all menace and subtle power, is one of the best in the film.

     The Equalizer is old-fashioned in the way it allows us to get to know the characters before the action kicks in. There is nothing old fashioned about the action however, which is quick, sharp and chaotic using a range of items as weapons including corkscrews, an electric drill, a nail gun and cement bags as well as firearms. But McCall is not a superhero, and he does have feelings and does get hurt. The Equalizer is also beautifully shot by DP Mauro Fiore, who had also shot Training Day and won an Oscar for Avatar (2009).

     A sequel The Equalizer 2 is already apparently on the books.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Equalizer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.40:1 close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a good print. Much of The Equalizer occurs at night or in darkened rooms so it is just as well that the blacks are rock solid and the shadow detail very good. Scenes with the lights of the city in the darkness, or in the diner, are sharp with only a bit of the usual digital yellowness under lights. Elsewhere colours are crisp, and not overly glossy. Contrast and brightness are consistent.

     Other than some slight ghosting I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     English and English for the hearing impaired subtitles are available. In addition, white subtitles come on automatically to translate the sections of Russian and Spanish dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English DTS-HD MA 7.1 plus English descriptive audio for the vision impaired, Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640 Kbps.

     My audio system is not yet 7.1 capable but even so this audio is excellent. Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and the surrounds and rears were used constantly for music and effects such as truck and car engines, weather effects, explosions, gunfire, ricochets and voices. The sound design becomes loud and atonal in the slowed down sequences where McCall is “casing” a room and his enemies and there are also frequent pans, such as cars and trucks driving through the frame. The sub-woofer added depth and boom to explosions, engines, the effects and the music without unbalancing the sound stage.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The original score is by Harry Gregson-Williams, one of my favourite film composers. He has over 80 credits in the IMDb, and worked frequently with Tony Scott (Spy Game (2001), the Scott / Denzel Washington films Man on Fire (2004) and Deja Vu (2006)) as well as with Ridley Scott on Kingdom of Heaven (2005). His score for The Equalizer is very good, understated when it needs to be, aggressive during the action. His original score is augment with music as variable as Tchaikovsky, Gladys Knight & The Pips and Eminem.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Play Movie in Vengeance Mode (155:00)

    Playing the film in “Vengeance Mode” interrupts the film to show some behind the scenes footage and allow Fuqua and Washington, sitting together, to add comments. This is not PIP, so it is somewhat disruptive. The sections are:

Trailers

     Trailers for A Walk Among the Tombstones (2:33) and John Wick (2:26) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

     The next five featurettes are all short EPK types with film clips, on set footage and interview snippets. Basically it is the same people who comment: screenwriter Richard Wenk, producers Jason Blumenthal, Todd Black, director Antoine Fuqua and cast Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo and Marton Csokas.

Inside The Equalizer (7:51)

     The intentions behind the film, and the character of Robert McCall / The Equalizer.

Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero (6:56)

     Working with Denzel Washington, and what he brings to the character.

Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua (7:06)

    The directing style of Antoine Fuqua and filming some of the action.

Children of the Night (5:23)

     Chloe Grace Moretz and her character.

One Man Army: Training and Fighting (6:40)

     The style of fighting in the film and Washington training for the role. Additional comments by stunt coordinator Keith Woulard.

Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time (2:11)

     Funny tongue in cheek ad for Home Mart, using film clips in a very different context!!

Photo Gallery

     Fifty three on set pictures. Silent, use the remote.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US release of The Equalizer is the same except for some language and subtitle options.

Summary

     The Equalizer is an intelligent and well scripted film, it is well made, beautifully shot and features an excellent Denzel Washington in the title role. An action film with heart!

     The video is dark but very good, the audio excellent; the extras are worthwhile and the same as in other regions resulting in a very good Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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