With Equalizer 2, Denzel Washington will prove that behind the acting chops lies one of the last true action heroes
The Oscar wagon might have skipped the action street, but people still swarm to the movies to witness Washington's ass-kicking performances.
There are very few actors who can flaunt ubiquitous stardom, whose mere name scribbled atop a movie title - unless it’s Marvel - drags in a swarm of people to the movie theaters. Denzel Washington is certainly one of those stars who can exude such star power at the movies. Now that the actor is set to reprise his role as Robert McCall in Equalizer 2, we take a look at what makes the man such a box-office magnet.
While the man cannot be boxed into a particular category, as evinced by his three-decade experience as a versatile actor, he has certainly galvanized his moniker as a movie star by doling out consistent performance that rakes in millions in every movie starring him. However, Washington’s performance as an action star tends to lie in a pool of obscurity, when compared to his other weightier roles that generate award buzz.
If we dare digress a little from his weightier roles and take a look at his action flicks that has garnered immense box office following, we might just find he has a tremendous screen presence as a man of action as well. The Oscar wagon might have skipped the action street, but people still swarm to the movies to witness Washington's ass-kicking performances.
Washington will play Robert McCall in Equaliser 2 - the hardened retired Ex-CIA operative who helps people in need, but prior to finding his calling as the messiah of the downtrodden - (all thanks to Alina aka Chloe Mortez) - all the man wanted, was to read 100 books, take singing lessons, and perhaps open up a donut factory. This would be Washington’s first sequel, since, unlike many of his peers, he never seemed to be interested in the franchise race. But then that hasn't been an obstacle for him since he has still managed to amass billions of dollars with his performances. Nevertheless, Washington is back for more Equali-zing by beating the living daylights out of some very bad men.
'Equaliser' in 2014 went on to be a huge commercial hit grossing over $35 million domestically. While the movie wasn’t viewed with reverence by the critics, Washington’s serious acting chops was the saving grace of the film that was censured for its violent script and plot.
Throughout his illustrious career, Washington has taken a two-pronged approach while tackling roles with true grit, in genre movies laced with action thrillers, or delving into the core of weightier flicks that seem guaranteed for Oscar nods merely minutes after the filming has wrapped. It's no surprise then that critics have been eloquent in their praise about the latter and done it rightly so, since there only a handful of actors who could have infused life into Troy Maxon, the protagonist of the movie "Fences", the masterwork of playwright August Wilson. The script while exemplary, had a strong whiff of the 'stage' to it. The script prior to its revival as a movie, read like an archival piece in a museum, to be used as an informative piece. But Washington managed to put his weight behind the movie and breathed life into, what was originally a Broadway conjuration and delivered an award-worthy performance.
He is one of the coolest actors who knows what precisely to pry out from his characters, without succumbing to over the top performance. You don’t get nominated six times for an Oscar while resorting to obnoxious theatrics, now, do you? Washington is the most affable actors of this day and age. As witnessed in the movie 'American Gangster'. In our opinion, it was one of the most underrated movies of his time. In his nuanced portrayal of a drug kingpin, who is gracious at times, with the rage just simmering beneath the surface, he commands unwavering attention from the audience and ensnares us in a web of intrigue. Movies like 'Manchurian Candidate', 'Philadelphia', 'Training Day', have all bought out the best the best in Washington, that pivoted him to the likes of the greatest actors of all time.
Be it the heavily critiqued movies like 'Deja Vu' - the action thriller version of Groundhog Day - or the 'Book of Eli', they might have tanked in the eyes of the critics, but the audiences were most definitely enthralled by Washington's performance if the box-office collection was anything to go by. While the aforementioned movies might have come up short, movies like 'Pelican Brief' and the 'Crimson Tide', stroked out some noteworthy performances from the actor. Fueled by excellent scripts they became some of the highest grossing hits in the 90's, thus earning him the favor of the masses.
If you notice, Washington has been dishing out characters that borrow heavily from a righteous avenger of yore to the sanctimonious savior downtrodden, roles who have long gone out of style. Now, we prefer our heroes in capes and incredibly uncomfortable latex suits, shooting death rays out of their eyes, as opposed to a righteous indignant ordinary joe, armed with a gun and a baseball bat. In spite of all the shortcomings of not being born on a planet called Krypton, Washington still manages to beat the odds. He was the 'Man of Steel' before the man of steel landed in the realm of DC.
So now, it's time you rewatch 'Equaliser' to see what all our man of steel can accomplish and also prepare for round- 2 of some serious body mangling.