September 2014 will see the customary slowdown in terms of film offerings, as we transition away from summer blockbusters to end of year tentpoles and awards-season contenders. Still, there are a handful of new releases that might be worth checking out this month, and The Equalizer – a modern big screen reboot of the 1980s TV show that reunites Training Day director Antoine Fuqua and star Denzel Washington – is the September newcomer with (arguably) the greatest potential.
Equalizer, as scripted by Richard Wenk (The Expendables 2), stars Washington as Robert McCall, a former black ops agent who has done his best to leave behind his old life. However, when Robert crosses paths with a young woman named Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) who is under the control of dangerous Russian mobsters, he chooses to resume his old habit of being a modern-day knight in shining armor “in a world where knights don’t exist anymore.”
The latest Equalizer theatrical preview (watch it above) contains much of the same footage as that featured in past trailers for the film. At the same time, though, most of the new material on display is quite intense and offers but a taste of the decidedly R-Rated violence depicted in Fuqua and Washington’s latest action/thriller collaboration – one that its director sees as “a bit of a throwback to the ’70s,” as he put it, with its gritty content and complicated morality.
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Fuqua, as a filmmaker, has a tendency to blend together character-oriented drama with brutal onscreen action (see: Training Day, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen) to generally effective results, so his new film – with Washington in Man on Fire badass mode – very much lies in his wheelhouse, as a storyteller. On top of that, Equalizer includes a top-notch cast, rounded out by such fine folk as Oscar-winner Melissa Leo (Prisoners), Marton Csokas (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), and Bill Pullman (Lola Versus), among others.
On the whole, The Equalizer is a lone gunman thriller with promise – enough so for Sony to have already begun development on a sequel (in anticipation of the first installment’s financial success). This month looks to be relatively weak on the whole, but at least Fuqua’s movie is in a position to end the frame on a strong note.
The Equalizer opens in U.S. theaters on September 26th, 2014.