The Equalizer (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The EqualizerTruth be told I wanted nothing to do with The Equalizer when it came out theatrically.  I even went as far as to not make any plans to attend the press screening of it when it dropped in my area.  What kind of reviewer does that?  I can tell you.  It’s a bad one.  I guess it all harkens back to the fact that whenever I heard this film being tossed around while in production my mind instantly drifted to an elder white man (Edward Woodard) from the television series back in the mid 80’s, not the bada$$ that Academy Award winner Denzel Washington really could be circa his Oscar-winning Training Day era.  However, life works in mysterious ways and I reluctantly found myself in the theater checking this out.  And checking this out I did…more like with my mouth wide open in complete awe and shock as to what I was seeing on screen.  To say I loved what I saw would be like saying the sun always sets in the West.  I was over the moon and I couldn’t be happier now to re-live The Equalizer all over again on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with the next film in the hopefully long running series only weeks away.  

The Equalizer


So what we truly have here is a reunion between two powerhouses of the Training Day era I mentioned up above already, those being Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua.  I’m not sure why I ignored that at first, but damn does it feel good to be home again and reunited with the pair.  Let’s just say I can put my fear of The Equalizer being just an elder white guy running around to bed because this is about as R-rated as they come in the action movie world and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Of course Denzel is not operating alone here.  He does have a supporting cast that consists of the very talented Chloe Grace Moritz, Marton Csokas, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.  So now that we got all of these basics out of the way what do you say we talk some story?  Sounds like a plan to me!

Robert McCall (Washington), as we come to learn in the film, is a retired secret agent.  There’s a backstory to his character that will be exposed as the movie traverses one, but for now I will err on the side of spoiler territory.  The way Robert gets back in action differs from that of the television show so as to not add any confusion to the matter I’m going to avoid talking about the television series altogether from this point on.  All I’ll say is what I kind of hinted at before.  This isn’t your parents Equalizer.

When we first meet McCall, he’s pretty much living a very quiet life.  They spend a share fair amount of time building his character up as someone you would just love to have in your life.  However, you didn’t expect that to last for too long did you?  No sir!  When he starts socializing more and more with Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young prostitute whose life is pretty much controlled by Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by after he witnesses something unspeakable.  Armed with a particular set of skills (think Taken here), McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and does everything in his power to ensure justice prevails no matter what the circumstance may be (referring to a couple of B-story plot lines).

By the time we’re established here, rest assured, if someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will reluctantly help.  He is The Equalizer.  You can take that anyway you want, but in reality, as we’ll discuss more down below in the Extras section, Denzel is the pulse of this movie.  His laid back demeanor just sells the story here.  Even if he didn’t speak a word throughout, I’d still be completely enthralled by his performance.

So what it all boils down to here ladies and gentlemen, The Equalizer is an action-packed, gritty thriller with plenty of tension and ironically tender moments to go around.   I know a lot of people complained about the film’s pacing and how they just couldn’t wait for it to end, but like my favorite Bond film, Casino Royale, I never wanted it to end.  The supporting cast all do a fine job here with one hell of a script to back it up.  I’ll let y’all do the web research on that to find out just how much people enjoyed this screenplay.

The action sequences, as you’ll read about much more in detail down in the Extras sections, are all top notch as well.  They used a Sherlock Holmes kind of style to telegraph and deploy the merciless beatings here (with some slasher kind of moments you would’ve never seen coming).  So with that being said, take comfort in knowing that they are all really well choreographed and pretty brutal and bloody.  What’s not to love about that, huh?  While I won’t go as far as to say that it’s as stupendous as the classic Training Day, I will say this that Denzel and Antoine are back in a no-holds barred action movie where they absolutely take no prisoners.  Now let’s see what this new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation from Sony is like.  Follow me if you dare!

The Equalizer


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Sony’s The Equalizer.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Dolby Vision: No
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Despite the many dark and dimly lit scenes the detail is absolutely amazing here.  The Blu-ray looked reference and this 4K presentation is remarkably pristine too.  Every nuance is captured in this presentation like the individual hairs on Denzel’s arms, reflections in the marble break room tables, pores, complexions, wrinkles, Denzel’s stubble on his head and so much more.  The clarity of the city shots in the heat of the night are breathtakingly clear and crisp.  The backgrounds all appear sharp and chiseled.  I just can’t say enough good things about it.
  • Depth: Because of the outstanding clarity and the three-dimensional pop of the characters and objects in the foreground, the depth of field here is quite remarkable and instantly noticeable in Robert McCall’s apartment, the white, long hospital hallways, the city streets and of course who can forget the never ending, expansive aisles in the hardware store, Home Mart, where Denzel’s character is employed.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are deep and inky throughout, and mark my word, lots of the sequences here are in the dark so it’s great that things look so spectacular here.  Nothing really ever gets lost in the shadows, but I do want to reinforce one point here.  The nighttime sequences looks amazing here.  There’s also one scene of a sunset that’s visually to die for.
  • Color Reproduction: The colors pop in the light and outdoor scenes, but for the most part sequences are captured and played out indoors, under the night and cloudy skies and of course in the dark where things really go bump in the night.  However, even beyond the darkness of it all the colors are bright and bold here.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones all look natural and authentic throughout.  There’s never a moment really where the colors or complexions are jacked.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Things look outstanding here with no nasty artifacts to ruin your viewing enjoyment of the presentation here.  Zero qualms!

The Equalizer


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Sony’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Equalizer.  I do want you to know that the  4K UHD Disc comes armed with a Dolby Atmos surround track while the 1080p Blu-ray comes repackaged with its original DTS-HD Master Audio one.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track, French (Quebec) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: There is a calm about The Equalizer that stirs not only in this surround presentation, but in Robert McCall himself.  However, that quiet calm is like a sealed jar.  Once you open that jar and expose what’s inside to the atmosphere a storm brews and thunder ensues.  That’s what happens here folks.  Robert McCall’s body and his motions are a weapon.  Who needs a gun when you have his skills that this dynamic Atmos surround presentation captures so well here, both sides of the equation.
  • Height: This is a new addition to this surround presentation for this particular title.  The Atmos height channels were tame in the beginning, but quickly make themselves known in moments like the following, but not limited to: sirens, transition effects, voices in one’s head, thunder, helicopters, rain, explosions, overhead music in the department store as well as the sprinklers and more.
  • Low Frequency Extension: Remember that quiet calm I just mentioned up above?  Well things are pretty quiet here for the first one-fourth of the film, but once Robert McCall is provoked the LFE channel opens wide up to perfectly produce all the punching thuds, thunder strikes, the many explosions, the gun shots registering and whatnot that all ensue here.  Things get batsh1t crazy here!  That’s not all either as the subwoofer’s aggression infects not only the score, but also the environments around you.  The heartbeat sound is sick too!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: I kind of hinted at things up above which you would normally find in this category of surround sound discussion points, but I left out gushing over the swooning score and immersive soundtrack that engulfs you here, not to mention the fast action moments, the bus and rails passing you by, the hospital intercom in the rears, knocks on a door, chopper blades swirling, atmospheric noises buzzing, etc.  You name it, The Equalizer surround presentation has it.  I’m very satisfied with the way I always felt right in the middle of the tension and action here.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: While there are lots of quiet moments here and whispering going on, the dialogue always reminds prominent, clear and intelligible throughout and that makes this fan very happy.

The Equalizer


Here’s where things get VERY interesting with this Sony 4K UHD product.  The original Blu-ray is repackaged here with the six behind-the-scenes featurettes that give viewers insight into the making of the film including The Equalizer‘s Blu-ray bonus feature “Vengeance Mode.”  When viewers turn on this feature, they get an inside look during the major action sequences as Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua break down the deadliest moves in the particular scene and reveal how their collaboration helped reinvent action choreography.  Sadly there’s no “real” audio commentary to be found here, but there is a Digital HD redemption code enclosed here good for bringing The Equalizer anywhere you want via Movies Anywhere.  Most 4K catalog releases are just this, but NOT The Equalizer here.  Oh no!  There are a total of 7 new extras here including 5 never-before-seen deleted scenes featuring McCall’s Epilogue, which teases The Equalizer 2.  Let’s tackle these new ones first and then I have provided down below too everything you’ll find on the included Blu-ray Disc, which were all previously released back in 2014.

As Found on the 4K UHD Disc:

  • Deleted Scenes (SDR, 5:54) -There are a total of 5 deleted scenes here: McCall’s Epilogue (1:58), Six In A Row (2:00), Universal (:24), Crunchy (:38) and Happy Birthday (1:10)
  • A Villain’s Psychosis (SDR, 4:04) – This one is all about the villain Teddy here portrayed by Martin Csokas and how he’s completely disconnected from emotions.  Ha ha they said Marton scared them in the room at the audition.  I love it!  Marton came to Antoine with a concept on the villain.  These are the villains I kind of miss not the ones from the superhero movies who have attachments.  A monster on the side of evil is all you need!
  • A Modern Hero (SDR, 2:24) – This one is obviously all about Denzel’s hero character here and how he looks for the good in everybody before “fixing” the problem.  Ha ha.
  • Joining Forces Again: Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua (SDR, 4:52) – It was interesting to know that Denzel is actually the one who suggested using Antoine and upon meeting on this they found that common ground once again.  They discuss the unique way of how Antoine came up with the process called “Equalizer Vision” that McCall employs before taking out the bad guys.
  • Playing the Part: The Cast of The Equalizer (SDR, 5:06) – Everyone gushes over Denzel’s involvement in this one.  They also tackle the casting and chemistry of 16-year-old Chloe, who spent time at the homeless shelters to study her role.  Then we move on to the charming, powerful and sinister Marton.  Bill Pullman and others are quickly looked upon to round things out here.
  • Boston: On Location (SDR, 4:41) – Boston got to be well Boston here as the filmmakers took advantage of all its geography as originally the location of the film was supposed to be based in New York.  However, Antoine wanted Boston to be its own character.
  • The Home Mart Advantage: The Action of The Equalizer (SDR, 5:15) – Do you really need me to spell this one out for you in regards to what it’s al about?  This one takes a closer look at the fighting techniques and skills of the Robert McCall character.  Denzel talks very giddy about all the instruments of death that can be found at a hardware store.  LOL.  Home Mart puts McCall on his home turf.
  • Trailers – There are two trailers here: Theatrical Trailer 1 (2:32) and Theatrical Trailer 2 (2:32).

Housed on the 1080p Blu-ray Disc:

  • Home Mart: Taking Care of Business One Bolt at a Time (HD, 2:11) – This one is kind of a throwaway in my opinion.  The best I can describe it is as a spoof commercial that features the film’s climactic Home Mart sequences.
  • Children of the Night (HD, 5:23) – This one’s all about my girl Chloe Grace Moritz and how she holds her own opposite Denzel on the big screen.  Moretz discusses her character, Teri and all the research she did to play the young, exploited girl including meeting with prostitutes at the organization Children of the Night.
  • Inside The Equalizer (HD, 7:51) – This one initially explores how the filmmakers felt when they heard The Equalizer rights were available and what happened as a result when they acquired them.  It explores the creative process of re-imagining and bringing Robert McCall to life on the big screen.  It examines Denzel’s character in detail and mixes all these cast and crew  interviews and conversations with footage from the film and some behind-the-scenes shots too.
  • Denzel Washington: A Different Kind of Superhero (HD, 6:56) – This one is a behind-the-scenes look at how Washington trained for his physically demanding role in this film.  Make no doubt about, the filmmakers and cast all agree that Robert McCall is only brought to life by utilizing the amazing actor Denzel Washington.  From what we learn here Denzel loved the script and was onboard instantly.  It’s interesting to learn how Denzel met with the screenwriter for two weeks straight to perfect his role.  They say Denzel is able to say more with less than any other working actor today.
  • Equalizer Vision: Antoine Fuqua (HD, 7:06) – This one is kind of a no-brainer in regards to what it’s all about.  It’s a firsthand look at the movie-making process from the Director.  Coincidentally, it was Denzel that recommended his Training Day alumni.  The cast of The Equalizer all chime in about working with Antoine and how he leaves room for the actor to make their own choices.  It was really cool to learn how they decided to film the fight scenes and how they justified the way Robert McCall meticulously takes out his enemies.  Lots of research was done.
  • One Man Army: Training and Fighting (HD, 6:40) – Here’s a discussion with Washington, Marton Csokas and Navy Seals stunt coordinator, Keith Woulard, on the process of building a one-man army…aka the fight sequences in The Equalizer.  Hell yeah!  They did not want stunt doubles in here!  They wanted Denzel to do it all, hence why it’s slowed down a bit to see him taking enemies out.  Most of it is street and cage fighting, very little martial arts.  They also talk about how all objects in a room were scanned and utilized in a fight.  They brag how they have 6 to 7 kills in here that you have never seen before and will never forget.
  • Vengeance Mode (HD, 2:35:00) – This mode delivers scene specific behind-the-scenes video throughout the movie.  When viewers turn on this feature, they get an inside look during the major action sequences as Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua break down the deadliest moves in the particular scene and reveal how their collaboration helped reinvent action choreography.  This is the closest you’ll come to a commentary track I’m afraid.  All in all, there’s about 23 extra minutes here since the feature film clocks in around 2:12:00.  Antoine and Denzel do give you a very quick video introduction here and chime from time-to-time even during scenes where this is no action.
  • Photo Gallery (HD) – You can select individual photos to view or a launch a slideshow here.

The Equalizer


I just can’t give you enough reasons why The Equalizer is a MUST-SEE, MUST-OWN Double Dip 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release for me.  I realize I’m in the minority here in my way of thinking, but if I had the authority I would love to see where they could go next with this character.  The Equalizer was very reminiscent to the power that another Sony title, Casino Royale,  held over me many years ago and like The Warrior of years past I just never want to see The Equalizer ever end.  That’s how I know this movie has a hold of me.  However, before I go, I just want to issue the following warning one more time so there’s no ignorant youngsters out there thinking the way I arrogantly was at first about this title.  This is not your parents’ Equalizer.  Our film here is rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references.  Even the last Expendables can’t say that.  So for anyone on the fence, I completely understand.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.  The Equalizer marries a perfect 4K UHD audio/video presentation with a killer story and some brand spanking new extras to boot.  Dig it!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


The Equalizer

Gets Even On

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

July 10th





Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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