The Equalizer review

This impressive Blu-ray platter proves that revenge is a dish best served in hi-def

This bigscreen update of the 1980s TV show features Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, a former black-ops guy who has left that part of his life behind and now works at a home supplies store in Boston. Yet when a young prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) he befriended is hospitalised by her Russian mobster pimp, McCall slips back into old ways and sets out on a bloody trail of revenge.

Reunited with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, Washington is on fine form here, his effortless cool and charisma ensuring that you constantly root for the morally righteous McCall as he dispenses justice to criminal scum with any tool he can lay his hands on (corkscrews, electric drills – you name it). Meanwhile, Marton Csokas is the very essence of unflappable evil as psychopathic Russian fixer 'Teddy'; and in lieu of much in the way of actual story, the film thrives on the anticipation of these two unstoppable forces eventually colliding. And when they do, it really doesn't disappoint.

Clearly pitched as the opening salvo in an ongoing franchise, The Equalizer is a surprisingly brutal and stylish entry in the 'revenge-thriller' genre that feels similar to the films Washington made with the late director Tony Scott. We hope that the bigscreen exploits of Robert McCall don't end here.

Picture: Taking place mainly at night, The Equalizer doesn't seem like a particularly showy movie, but it soon becomes apparent that director Antoine Fuqua and cinematographer Mauro Fiore have created a distinctive look for the film that lends itself to an absolutely spectacular 1080p image.

Framed at 2.40:1, the AVC encode delivers inky blacks that contrast brilliantly with the neon signing and ochre streetlights that reflect on the damp streets. Moments when the camera becomes more intimate with the film's characters (particularly the close-ups of McCall's eyes as he surveys his targets) also reveal plenty of reference-quality detailing. Add to that a lack of banding or artefacts and you have a Full HD encode that will delight home cinema aficionados.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: While The Equalizer doesn't really crank up the action stakes until its final third, it would be remiss to think the DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix has little to offer until then. The precise placement of audio effects does a fine job of giving every location its own ambience, while dialogue feels totally natural.

Of course, when things do go up to 11 with an exploding ship (Chapter 13) and the store showdown (Chapters 13-15) the 7.1 track keeps pace with the frantic onscreen action, noticeably with a potent low-end and superb dynamics.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Vengeance Mode (pictured below) is a Maximum Movie Mode-style method of watching The Equalizer that punctuates the film during eight scenes to show behind-the-scenes footage and to talk to its director and star about the characters and shooting the film's major set-piece scenes. Sony's Blu-ray platter also houses five informative Making of… featurettes, a funny spoof store promo for Home Mart and a gallery of 52 photographs.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: An impressive looking hi-def outing for this entertaining '80s-style vigilante thriller. More please…

The Equalizer, Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £25 Approx