A young girl who is put in harm's way by a bloodthirsty criminal syndicate. A former military operative who will stop at nothing to do away with everyone involved in endangering her life. Granted, Denzel Washington (2012's "Flight") already starred in a film with this premise—2004's "Man on Fire"—but "The Equalizer" is so stylish and riveting in its own right that it hardly matters. Loosely based on the 1985-89 television series, the film has been directed by Antoine Fuqua (2013's "Olympus Has Fallen") and written by Richard Wenk (2011's "The Mechanic") with an engrossing blend of unflinching brutality and dramatic sensitivity. Its vigilante plot is of the homespun variety, but the way in which it is so voraciously tackled helps to pull in the viewer instantly and keep him or he right there, rallying behind the lead character for the whole 131-minute running time. The anointed hero of the piece is responsible for taking an untold number of lives, and yet within the context of this pulpy story there isn't a single casualty that feels uncalled for or extraneous.
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