The Equalizer - 4K Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
    Staff Member
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    1,794
    Likes Received:
    948
    Location:
    Arizona
    The Equalizer


    [​IMG]
    Movie: :4.5stars:
    4K Video: :4.5stars:
    Video: :4.5stars:
    Audio: :5stars:
    Extras: :4stars:
    Final Score: :4.5stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    Antoine Fuqua has done his fair share of action movies over the years, and he’s done his fair share of gritty crime thrillers in his day as well, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I went and saw The Equalizer in theaters. Color me shocked when I saw one of the best revenge action movies I’d seen in years. Antoine took his experience doing 90’s action flicks and transposed that onto a modern veneer with nice shiny filming. Guns, knives, brutal kills and promises made by the hero that every bad guy in the movie is going to suffer. Basically what made the 90s action movies so much fun in the first place. Based off of the 1980’s TV series with the same name, Fuqua remakes and prequels the rise of Robert McCall to the epic “Equalizer” for the disenfranchised and innocent victims.

    Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is just your average everyday middle aged man. He works at Home Mart (basically Home Depot renamed) and goes to a late night diner for a something to eat and to read his books. One of the regulars at that time of night happens to be a hooker by the name of Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz) who wants to get out of the life and be somebody. Every night he comes in for his dinner and socializes with her, encourages her and she opens up from his kindness. This all changes one night when Teri ends up in the hospital, beaten to a bloody pulp by her pimp. Mild mannered Mr. McCall doesn’t take this very well and ends up taking some revenge on the men who killed her. In a stunning display of skill we find out that our normal everyday man happens to be an ex CIA agent who happens to have a set of skills that make him extremely dangerous to people like Teri’s pimp (wink wink).

    These actions set off a chain reaction as he finds out that he didn’t just knock over a couple of pimps, but the entire East Coast leg of the Russian mob. Now the mob is ticked off and sends in Teddy (Marton Csokas), a specialist designed to take out the trash. Now it’s a game of cat and mouse as Teddy tries to track down Robert and Robert tries to unravel him from the inside out. Soon it’s all-out war as the two very dangero
    [​IMG]
    I love revenge flicks like these, I really do. There’s something almost “superheroish” about them. One man, up against all odds with just his insane ability to inflict damage and a swarm of bad guys that he has to mow through to get to the boss. “The Equalizer” has to be the second best revenge flick of 2014 (only second next to John Wick) and one of the best action movies I’ve seen in a long time. Fuqua blended the style and flare of The Replacement Killers with the hard hitting feel of Man on Fire. Denzel plays Robert McCall with ease, giving him a very kind heart and the desire to help people that really shows on his face, but when the going gets rough that kind heart can ice over and you see a man who has ice water flowing through his veins. The action sequences are hard core, with kills that make you wince and cheer at the same time. The end sequence in the Home Mart between Robert and Teddy’s mercenaries is a fight to behold. His improvised weapons were truly brutal and had me even wincing a few times.

    Bathed in cool and dripping with style, The Equalizer brings us back to the days when good guys work black and walked in slow motion while “good guy” music plays in the background. The fights had a little bit of the quick cut style of film making but nowhere near as prevalent as it has been lately. Fuqua knows what he’s doing behind the camera and it shows as he creates a movie even more polished and more fun than “The Replacement Killers” and just as brutal as Man on Fire. As they say, “Old action heroes never die, they just switch directors”.

    I had a few issues with the last 5 minutes of the movie, as I felt Teri’s fate should have been left out, as it was already pretty obvious what happened to her. Ending with the Teddy vs. Robert fight and the scene in the Diner would have been a bit more impactful, but really, that is nothing but a nitpick as the movie flows along at such a smooth pace that you can’t help but enjoy it. Easily my one of my favorite action movies of the year.





    Rating:

    Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references





    4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4.5stars:
    [​IMG]
    Sony's 2014 release of The Equalizer was near reference quality in my book, who's only fault was that some of the dimly lit sequences (especially the end battle in the hardware store) had some grey looking black levels. This new 2018 4K UHD disc seems to be struck from the 2K master that the Blu-ray was from, but it is one of the more impressive looking 2K to 4K upscales that I've seen. I was expecting a moderate increase in quality, but the 4K disc REALLY shines here. Most of the film is set in dark places, with blue and green overtones to it and the urban set film really tasked your display's use of black levels. The film's use of HDR makes for some stunning upgrades in colors (just watch the opening 15 minutes of the film where Robert and Teri eat their slice of nightly pie. The blues of the spoon just pop off the screen) and the blacks are sooooooooooooo inky black that I couldn't help but salivate over them. The minimal graying in the black levels that I noticed in the Blu-ray carries over to the 4K disc, but other than some mild softness in the opening "action" scene against the Russians, this film is pristine and a very impressive upgrade over the Blu-ray. Facial details and little background details show much more textures, and the entire experience is one of the more jaw dropping ones I've had recently. Sony is known for their impressive work on new releases (I'm counting this as a new release as we're only 3.5 years from the initial Blu-ray hit) and this re-release of one of my favorite newer action films is nothing to sneeze at. Bravo Sony.





    Audio: :5stars:
    [​IMG]If the video is ALMOST perfect than the aggressive Atmos track is spot on perfect in every way. I was floored with the incredibly powerful and nuanced experience for The Equalizer. Gunshots rip through your speakers like a cannon and the weight behind the hand to hand combat scenes is exhilarating as you can almost feel the impacts from the sonic hits. I had no problem with the dialogue as it is well balanced and shows some great directionality and use of panning effects. Gunshots will literally start out in one corner and whistle over your ear to the rears in a split instant and the surrounds never were short of material. Footsteps crunch in the dark, a piece of gravel falls against the right rear area and the humming and whirring of the city streets subtly shift from direction to the next without making it obvious. As I mentioned with the gunshots, the LFE is deep and low, adding weight to the tense action based score and spinning you around in your seats during the frenetic action sequences. The upgrade to Atmos isn't as wild due to the fact that the Blu-ray for The Equalizer had a perfect 5/5 7.1 DTS-HD MA mix, but the uptick to Atmos does have some subtle upgrades. The overheads get some use here and there, and the use of discrete sounds in the end face off in the hardware store (specifically the water from the sprinkler system) make it measurably better than 7.1 mix. As Mary Poppins would say “Practically perfect in every way”.






    Extras: :4stars:
    [​IMG] 4K UHD
    Five Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes, featuring McCall's Epilogue teasing The Equalizer 2
    • Six Featurettes:
    - "A Villain's Psychosis"
    - "Boston: On Location"
    - "A Modern Hero"
    - "Joining Forces Again: Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua"
    - "Playing the Part: The Cast of The Equalizer"
    - "The Home Mart Advantage: The Action of The Equalizer"
    • Theatrical Trailers

    Blu-ray
    • Vengeance Mode with Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua
    • Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero
    • "Equalizer" Vision: Antoine Fuqua
    • Inside "The Equalizer"
    • One Man Army: Training and Fighting
    • Photo Gallery
    • Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt At a Time
    • Children of the Night




    Final Score: :4.5stars:


    It’s nice to see a hard hitting action movie that’s reminiscent of the 90’s make its way to us in this day and age of watering down action movies for a broader PG-13 appeal. The action is hard hitting, Denzel can switch between the kind old man and the ice water in the veins assassin at the flip of a switch and I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. To make it even sweeter it doesn’t FEEL like a throwback movie like The Expendables, but rather takes what was good about the 90s action movies implemented that ferocity and use of more than a split second between cuts to appeal to the hardcore action junkies and new ones alike. Video and audio are off the charts and I’m really impressed at the lineup of extras, some of which are exclusive to the 4K UHD disc. The upgraded video/audio scores are the meat and potatoes of why I'm recommending this as an upgrade to the Blu-ray, but the inclusion of some unique special features to the release give it that added push to make it a highly recommended release.



    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas
    Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
    Written by: Michael Sloan, Richard Wenk
    Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
    Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Czech, French (Canadian), German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian DD 5.1
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Korean, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish
    Studio: Sony
    Rated: R
    Runtime: 132 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: July 10th 2018






    Recommendation: Highly Recommended

     
    #1 Michael Scott, Jul 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
    tripplej and Todd Anderson like this.
  2. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2017
    Messages:
    3,880
    Likes Received:
    966
    Location:
    Balt/Wash Metro
    I'm sold. This one was never on my radar... but it sounds like it should be!

    ORDERED! Thanks for the great review, Mike!
     
  3. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
    Staff Member
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    1,794
    Likes Received:
    948
    Location:
    Arizona
    wait? what? This wasn't on your radar even though I reviewed it in 2014 as one of the best action movies of that year? tsk tsk Todd, you're slipping ;)

    The end battle in the hardware store (it's a lot cooler than it sounds) is worth the price of admission alone. Antoine Fuqua is an old school 90s action director (Training Day, The Replacement Killers) and it was a NICE throwback to blending old school 90s action with modern day techniques
     
  4. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2017
    Messages:
    2,925
    Likes Received:
    239
    Thanks for the review. I am interested in checking this one out.
     
  5. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2017
    Messages:
    3,880
    Likes Received:
    966
    Location:
    Balt/Wash Metro
    Honestly, I think I had a little too much Denzel and just ended up ignoring the film all together. :-)
     
  6. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
    Staff Member
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Messages:
    1,794
    Likes Received:
    948
    Location:
    Arizona
    you really missed out. It was almost as good as John Wick was for the action industry
     

Share This Page