Director – Antoine Fuqua
Year – 2014
Robert McCall is a retired Marine and Defense Intelligence Agency officer who, after promising his now-deceased wife that he would leave his former activities behind, lives quietly in Boston and works at a Home Mart hardware store. McCall befriends many of his co-workers and helps a security guard trainee named Ralph pass his qualification exam. Unable to sleep, McCall spends some late nights reading in a 24/7 diner where he befriends Alina, a teenage prostitute working for the Russian Mafia.
One night, Alina is hospitalized following a brutal beating by her pimp, Slavi. Hearing of the beating, McCall visits Alina’s hospital room and speaks with her friend, Mandy. McCall tracks down Slavi at his office and offers to pay $9,800 for Alina’s freedom. Slavi refuses, dismissing McCall as old and impotent. McCall then kills Slavi and four of his men with skilful close combat efficiency by using the men’s own weapons, various objects in the office, and his bare hands.
Following the killings, Russian Mafia boss Vladimir Pushkin sends his enforcer, Teddy Rensen, to find and eliminate the culprit. In the meantime, Ralph withdraws his security guard application, going to work for his mother at the family restaurant. When McCall learns the restaurant was set on fire by corrupt policemen as an act of extortion, he confronts and beats the officers, forces them to pay back all the money they have extorted, and threatens to publicize their crimes. Ralph then returns to Home Mart and passes his test, becoming a security guard at the store.
In investigating the murders of Pushkin’s henchmen, Rensen questions Alina’s friend Mandy, who tells him that “a nice man–a black man” had come to visit Alina in the hospital. Mandy is then murdered by Rensen. An armed robbery occurs at the Home Mart in which a coworker’s ring is stolen. After the ring is mysteriously returned, McCall is seen cleaning a sledgehammer with a bloodied cloth and putting it back in the store.
After finding video footage of McCall entering the building where the killings of Slavi and the other gangsters occurred, Rensen visits McCall at his apartment under the guise of a police officer and later makes two attempts to capture him. However, McCall escapes after killing one of Rensen’s men and knocking out another.
McCall then visits old friend and fellow former DIA officer Susan Plummer, who uses her resources to give him information on Pushkin and his operations. Plummer informs McCall that Teddy Rensen’s true name is Nikolai Itchenko and that he is a former member of the Russian secret police and Spetsnaz.
Stepping up his actions against Pushkin, McCall subdues Frank Masters–a corrupt policeman working for Pushkin–and forces him to help him gain access to one of Pushkin’s local money-laundering operations. Once there, McCall holds one of Pushkin’s men at gunpoint, subdues his cronies, and orders Masters to inform the police of the money-laundering operation. From Masters, McCall obtains a memory stick loaded with information about Pushkin’s illegal activities, which he emails to the FBI. McCall then confronts Itchenko at a restaurant, revealing that he knows his history and pledging to bring down Pushkin’s criminal enterprise. When McCall destroys a container ship Pushkin used to smuggle goods, Pushkin orders Itchenko to kill McCall.
Itchenko and his men go to Home Mart and take Ralph and several of McCall’s other co-worker’s hostage, threatening to kill them if McCall does not surrender. After arriving at Home Mart, McCall kills Itchenko’s henchmen one by one using booby traps constructed with items in the store; however, he is wounded in the process. After a struggle between McCall and one of Itchenko’s men, Ralph comes back to pull the injured McCall out of the store but is shot in the leg himself. After Ralph escapes, McCall confronts Itchenko and kills him with a nail gun.
Three days later, McCall travels to Moscow and tricks Pushkin into electrocuting himself. After his return to the United States, McCall is politely approached by Alina outside a neighbourhood grocery store. Alina has recovered from her injuries and has found a new job. She thanks McCall for giving her a second chance. McCall is inspired to continue using his skills to help people in need and posts an online advertisement, now identifying himself as “The Equalizer”.