Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 21st November, 2014
Time : 132 minutes
Director : Antoine Fuqua; Writer: Richard Wenk, based on the TV series by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim; Music : Harry Gregson-Williams
Starring : Denzel Washington, Martin Czokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, David Meunier, Johnny Skourtis
Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 21st November, 2014
Time : 137 minutes
Director, Writers : Raj and Krishna DK; Co-writer: Sita Menon; Music : Jigar Sachin
Starring : Saif Ali Khan, Ileana D'Cruz, Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey, Govinda, Rahul Nath, Preity Zinta
Equalizer and Happy Ending, as films & genres, couldn’t be more dissimilar. One is a action, one-man army, bloody, gory film, the other a soft focus, breezy romantic comedy. In one bad things happen to a lot of bad people while in the other, good people enjoy the good life. Yet my movie viewing experience was so alike that I felt compelled to write a kind of combined review. That, and a slight time constraint.
In Equalizer, Denzel Washington, a seemingly innocuous worker at a DIY store, perennial do-gooder, transforms into a plague of sorts against a well-heeled, well-connected Russian mob. Just because they beat a not-so-close friend of his, Chloe, up. And when they turn up the heat, sending Marton Csokas, their enforcer, he switches on some sunlight himself…
In Happy Ending, Saif is a commitment phobic, serial womanizer, rich, popular author. Who suddenly finds his book replaced on the shelves, his money finished, his popularity faded and the women drying up. Suffering from writers block, handed a life-saving script-writing opportunity by a single-screen star, Govinda, who wishes to now connect with the multiplex audiences, Saif (for reasons not entirely clear) decides to hook-up with the new author / flavor of the month, Ileana D'Cruz, who’s pulpy, romantic novel, has replaced his on the shelf and him at his literary agent. And she turns out to be the female version of him…
What struck me, with both movies, was the predictability of the storylines and also the inevitability of the endings, whether Happy or otherwise. And yet, they were both enjoyable, gripping in their own ways, proving once again that even if the destination is clear, the journey can still be fun.
What works for Equalizer are its action sequences, background music, superb visuals and earnest performances from Denzel and Marton. It helps that Antoine Fuqua, the director, is no stranger to the action genre, with films like Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen and Shooter under his belt, and keeps the film crisp, pacy and slick, yet manages to build a good emotional connect with simple, deft touches – chance meetings, stray conversations about books at a diner, a musical doll, a glistening tear rolling down the cheek. Chloe also comes through in her brief role…
And what works for Happy Ending is its irreverent take on life, relationships, writing and Saif. The good thing about him is that, especially when playing the lovable rascal, it really feels that the character is him in reality – he’s not playing a part, just being himself. Ilena does well (though not without flaw),Kalki's role, as Saif's slightly psychotic girlfriend, was a bit unidimensional, and Ranvir, as Saif’s bff and a much harried, married man, delivers the laughs fairly consistently. It was also a nice change to see a film about an author, and the dialogue, refreshingly, was consistently good and funny.
Equalizer’s end was worse than Happy Ending’s. Required a suspension of disbelief longer than the Golden Gate, the locale of part of the latter…though, arguably, HE’s was more contrived. But both still made for a good watch, stopping a few milestones shy of greatness but giving us some happy viewing…