Hollywood Revamp: The Equalizer (2021)

I’d give the first 2 eps a 3.5 out of 5. Good action, and I think a decent reimagining of an Equalizer-type character for today, but it could do with a lot less preaching on how Oppressed certain groups think they are. Clue, people: if cops caught a teenage girl of any skin tone boosting a car or stealing a hundred-dollar dress, they’d throw her behind bars. Stop with the moaning about who gets dinged for “just a little teenage rebellion”. Theft is theft, violence is violence, and the kid’s whining about it – there are ways to write a sympathetic rebellious teen character, and so far the writers are not.

The character of Robyn McCall – huh. On the one hand, I can understand why some reviewers might want, instead of Queen Latifah, someone who looked a lot more action hero-ish. OTOH, she’s supposed to be ex-CIA, and a real-life CIA operative is supposed to be someone who doesn’t stand out as they poke various problems around the world. And really isn’t supposed to stand out as the person to suspect when a bad guy turns up dead in a dark alley. As the fictional British spy James Asher put it, your best defense against being suspected of murder, theft, espionage, and darker deeds is “simply not being the sort of person who would do that kind of thing”. She looks like a middle-aged woman. Who’d suspect her of being CIA? Plausible.

Also, the action sequences so far – while still Hollywood! – are much more reasonable than the all-too-frequent Waifu hijinks. Robyn McCall uses firearms, surprise, and overwhelming force when she takes down men. She does not trade blows with them, she doesn’t try to physically outlast them. Fight fast, fight hard, and if at all possible fight with ambush tactics. That’s how a woman who wants to survive bad guys should fight.

Having an excellent hacker and a sniper as backup does not hurt. Not at all.

I’d call it Urban Fantasy. As in, not “magic”, but people definitely going beyond regular human capabilities. *Shrug* I have no particular problem with that, I write fantasy. I would never in a million years try what the character pulls because hello, reality. But even the original Equalizer had elements of the slightly superhuman. So that doesn’t bug me.

The moralizing does bug me. Robert McCall might have done a bit of it in the original show, but he was talking about justice and caring about individuals instead of international power plays. Race never came into it, because justice is blind.

I miss that point of view in fiction. I wish Hollywood had kept it.

So. *Shrug* Could be better, is still entertaining.

16 thoughts on “Hollywood Revamp: The Equalizer (2021)

    1. Finally! Someone who sees the truth, that any sort of adjectives added to justice is really just a way of disguising injustice with pretty words.

      As for the OJ thing, from what I remember that was more prosecutorial incompetence and media bias than anything. I’m not sure he actually did commit the murders in large part because the media was so sure. Though from what I do remember seeing of the courtroom footage the whole thing was a circus and the jury voted as they should have because the prosecution failed to show that he was guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

      Sadly that reasonable doubt criteria seems to not be as important any more. At least not in the minds of the public and subsequently no longer is quite as effective as it used to be in curtailing politics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The LA county coroner was convinced he did it. Frankly, I don’t know how the evidence went down – I do know that the “social reaction” to the verdict being one of “we won!” made me seriously reevaluate what the average person of that ethnicity thought justice was defined as.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Albert,
        How do we know that, for certain? We each actually know very few people.

        The impression that the media seeks to create fits the bread and circuses model. But the media seeks to create a lot of images, and we can be sure that some of those are incorrect.

        Canis,
        The fun times are going to be a result of more than simply changes in support for presumption of innocence. We’ve had quite a few insane academics and academically trained madmen meddling, and the application of law has become fairly confused. Of course, I am a legal layman who also thinks that Isaac Parker is a pretty good guide to how criminal law should be handled.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “I’ll have those n—–s voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” Direct quote from the racist bastard, when setting up his ‘Great’ Society. Did you know that before LBJ created the modern welfare state, American blacks had a lower percentage of broken homes than American whites? (Can’t compare adultery rates, obviously, as everyone involved in those disasters can be expected to lie too much for stats to be trusted.)

        Fathers who do their duties as paterfamilias to their cherished wives and children are perhaps the single strongest influence over whether children grow up to be productive members of society or not.

        -Albert

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I do not contest any aspect of LBJ being a son of a bitch.

        I will concede that we can be pretty sure that he was partly successful.

        I’m not willing to concede that he was fully successful. I do not have reason to be sure of that, and have a few minor reasons to suspect otherwise. The most concise summary of why that is a sticking point for me is personal lunacy.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. And, yeah, fathers are pretty important. My situation with my own father was odd enough that I can kind of see how screwed up an absence of a father could make a boy. And positive enough that I can tell you how much he did for me, how profound an influence he was in some ways.

        I will say that grandfathers and uncles are also important, if possible. As well as my mother, grandmothers, and aunts.

        There’s just no substitute that you, a bureaucracy, or anyone else can provide by throwing money at the problem.

        Leaving aside the issues of love and caring, intact family means access to insight from ancestral memory, and that insight is hugely important for avoiding stupidity that will get you killed. Overconfident young men need the counsel of those who were once and survived being overconfident young men, and trust can be developed from long term family relationships.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. LBJ didn’t need to ruin every last minority family to make the subcultures involved go toxic and rot away. Just most of them. A friend elsewhere who married a black woman (and stuck with her, they have children and remain together) and does some work with ministry, mentioned recently that a black minister who works with urban youth said that even with outreach and mentoring, only a quarter of inner-city children can be rescued from ghetto culture, because the rest will reject the rescue efforts.

        Obviously, this is a long chain of hearsay, but having grown up in a minority school district and lived in Beaumont Texas for almost a decade as an adult(little issues like a black school board embezzling a hundred million over twenty year by race-carding every investigation, or malls having to ban teens on the weekend to prevent vandalism), I can believe that he was broadly correct.

        Note that genes don’t need to come into play: While ‘chav’ is of Romani etymology, the Brits turned it into a reverse acronym for ‘council housed and violent’ for a reason. Likewise the purpose of the mob in ancient Rome was to intimidate political opponents, with the mob being created by the ‘bread and circuses’ dole. Workhouses need careful design to minimize abuse of the residents (although I have to wonder if the reports we have are exaggerated, like how Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was as dishonest as a Michael Moore fakeumentary), but the dole begats violence by infantilizing those who live on it, regardless of race.

        -Albert

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “Robyn McCall uses firearms, surprise, and overwhelming force when she takes down men. She does not trade blows with them, she doesn’t try to physically outlast them. Fight fast, fight hard, and if at all possible fight with ambush tactics. That’s how a woman who wants to survive bad guys should fight.

    Having an excellent hacker and a sniper as backup does not hurt. Not at all.”

    This. So. Much. THIS.

    Why does it bug people when characters fight sensibly? It’s not like male characters *always* do *all* the fighting by their lonesome *all* the time. See The A-Team, NCIS, SG-1, and myriad other series where male characters have other men back them up in a fight. Heck, even Magnum from Magnum P.I. called in backup and/or relied on ambush tactics where appropriate. Best block = not being there, and no one *wants* to take a beating if they don’t have to. Why does a woman have to “fight like a man” physically but not psychologically – especially when the latter is often safer for her? Sheesh….. 🤦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Exactly! The point is not to establish manly dominance in a schoolyard brawl. The point is to get the hostage back/rescue the sex trafficked woman/etc. This is not about who’s better, this is about rescuing people. “Fair” would be injustice to the victims.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I am often frustrated seeing the lack of follow-through in fight scenes.

      They exchange punches, one is knocked down, and the other stands there picking his nose until they get back up.
      Or they sneak up, get one chance for a surprise attack, and go for a secondary target instead of just winning.

      I get that they’re trying to drag out the 5 second fight into 5 chapters, but couldn’t you tie them up before you have the long rambling conversation?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The talk of undercover CIA, remind me of the manga ‘Black Lagoon’, which is about a criminally mercenary crew in a ridiculously shady city (as in it has cops and all, but they take bribes and hush stuff in broad daylight and all).

    in later episode we learn that a certain character, is a CIA undercover agent. thing is, that person was very much violent, gun toting maniac as everyone else all over the place.

    by which i mean of the type to not hesitate to pull a gun and pull a trigger on a stranger for a payday, type of crowd, not the kill for fun left and right or because they could crowd.

    we can see that character is somewhat shady, because EVERYONE is, either shady or off somehow.

    That they are a CIA spy is only hinted once, when before a bounty is placed on a newcomer, and as everyone all around go to try and get it, at a point the spy is alone with a one of the bounty hunters, and said hunter comments how he remember seeing the spy… in Langley. the spy goes silent for a moment, and then we hear a gunshot… We never see the bounty hunter again.

    THAT is a proper foreshadowing and hiding!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Clever action sounds fun! Maybe I will give the series a try. Thank you.

    Side note: I have never understood the people who trivialize theft and consider it a youthful folly for a teenager to shoplift.

    Sure, theft in survival situation is different, stealing the necessities of life when there is no other way to get them is perfectly understandable.

    But just stealing for fun and profit? That damages society in ways beyond the obvious damage. It makes everything more expansive, every business more complicated, because they need to consider ways someone might take advantage.

    Liked by 1 person

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