Equalizer vs Tombstones

March 29, 2015 9:00 am

A Movie Review

Stepping up to the plate are two autumn blockbusters, now both on DVD. But which action film should you order? In one corner is Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer”, a modern take on the original series from 80’s, and in the other corner, Liam Neeson’s new gritty thriller “A Walk Among the Tombstones”.

Walking into the cinema you should know what you’re going to get. In Washington and Neeson you have two of the biggest movie stars of the last decade. Over the last few years in particular both men have been pumping out the big action movies: Washington has starred in “The Taking of Pelham 123”, “The Book of Eli” and “Flight”, while Neeson’s back catalogue contains “Taken”, “The Grey” and his own aeronautical mis-adventure “Non-Stop”. Guns, fights and explosions are not just expected, they’re a given.

However, both films are not just two hours of mindless violence as they take different approaches to differentiating their film from the stereotypical action flick. Washington’s struggle to resort to violence is clearly represented in “The Equalizer”. The film slowly builds to his first fight scene where Washington gives us an indication of what his character, Robert McCall, can do. The film continues to show McCall’s dilemma of returning to a life of killing and the film slowly builds to the epic climax where McCall shows everyone the true extent of his skills.

In comparison, “A Walk Among the Tombstones” dispels any notion you have that this may be “Taken 2.5”. Straight away we are thrust into the action, Neeson doing what he does best, hunting people down and killing them. Then the pace slows to reveal the films real intentions, it’s not an action movie it’s a dark and gritty thriller. Neeson takes centre stage as Mathew Scudder, delivering one of his best performances in recent memory. Setting the film in the 90’s gives the film a strange aura, this cinematography gives the entire film a “Sin City” feel.


Although Washington and Neeson headline these films, it is the supporting roles that allow these films to become more than just a typical man-with-a-gun wants-revenge story. Washington’s co-star is teen Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick Ass, Carrie) who provides the motivation for Washington to begin the killing again. The comedic break comes in the form of Johnny Skourtis, a work colleague of Washington at the Home mart Department Store. Like its rival film, “Tombstones” has a character to provide the comedic interactions with the main character. Youngster Brian Bradley (Earth to Echo) gives a great performance as TJ and delivers a welcome break from some of the darker moments of the film.

Despite its character development and supporting cast, the slow build of “The Equalizer” can make you glance at your watch once or twice, waiting for Washington to turn from model employee to full on killing machine. While “Tombstones” keeps your interest from start to finish. It may not have action throughout but the thrill of the chase keeps you hooked. Although “The Equalizer” is definitely worth a watch (especially since a sequel all but confirmed), it is “Tombstones” than wins this bout.

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