The Denzel Washington Action Movie On Streaming That Started A Franchise

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

The Equalizer

If you’re looking for a killer action flick, but you don’t want to watch John Wick for the millionth time, we’ve got good news. The Denzel Washington film The Equalizer is “equally” thrilling, and like the house that Keanu built, it launched an entire franchise. Best of all, you can stream it on Hulu from the comfort of your own home…no trip to The Continental is necessary.

The Equalizer launched Denzel Washington’s most successful franchise, and now the first entry is streaming on Hulu.

While the film is very loosely based on a classic 1980s television franchise, it’s fair to say that Denzel Washington made the modern Equalizer franchise his own with this first film. It has a plot that will probably feel familiar to fans of classic action cinema: Washington stars as a badass former Marine who wants to live a quiet life, and that life includes an unexpected friendship with a teenage prostitute.

When the girl is attacked, Washington’s character unleashes the full strength of his Marine training, inadvertently triggering a one-man war against the Russian mafia as he revels in his new lifestyle as a modern urban vigilante.

The Equalizer

The sheer presence and charisma of Denzel Washington are already enough to make us recommend The Equalizer, but if you’re still not convinced to stream it, you should know the rest of the cast is just as impressive.

It includes David Harbour (best known for Stranger Things), Chloë Grace Moretz (best known for Kick-Ass), and Bill Pullman (best known for Independence Day). All of these are hot Hollywood actors in their own right, and in this entertaining ensemble, you can practically feel their talent sizzling on the screen in scene after scene.

Instead of Denzel Washington, it was Russell Crowe who originally wanted to star in The Equalizer.

Denzel Washington remains the highlight of The Equalizer, which makes it that much more surprising that he almost didn’t star in this iconic film. Originally, it was fellow action icon Russell Crowe who expressed interest in reviving the old television show for the big screen back in 2010. Crowe was hoping that Paul Haggis would direct the film, and Crowe wanted (of course) to serve as the film’s star.

Unfortunately for Crowe (and perhaps fortunately for audiences), neither of those wishes came true: Sony was interested in reviving the old franchise, but they selected Antoine Fuqua to direct it. They also wanted Denzel Washington to headline The Equalizer, which made their ultimate director choice quite obvious. After all, Fuqua had previously directed Washington in Training Day, which is still considered by many to be the prolific actor’s very best film.

Interestingly, Denzel Washington’s character was not the only one in The Equalizer that was very nearly played by someone else. Chloë Grace Moretz plays the role of Teri the friendly prostitute, and this was a role for which there was fierce competition. Previously, other actors were considered for this big role, including Kelly Macdonald, Nina Dobrev, and even Anna Kendrick.

The Equalizer

Whether they were there mostly for Denzel Washington or mostly because they wanted to see some truly kickass action, audiences showed up for The Equalizer in a very big way. The film ended up grossing $192.3 million against a budget somewhere between $55-73 million. Such financial success was enough on its own to eventually warrant multiple sequels, creating a killer new franchise for action junkies.

And in this movie, Denzel Washington did something even more difficult than taking down the Russian mafia: impressing film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie currently has a critical rating of 61 percent, meaning it’s certified fresh (doubly impressive since critics are often very snobby about action flicks).

Denzel Washington teamed with his frequent collaborator, director Antoine Fuqua, for all three films of the Eqauzlier franchise.

Incidentally, the movie has a 77 percent rating from fans, which explains why the film has gotten such good word of mouth that The Equalizer has gained more and more fans in the years since its initial release. 

Thanks to both the awesome box office and impressive critical and audience reception, Denzel Washington went on to later star in The Equalizer 2, a film that Antoine Fuqua once again directed. That movie didn’t impress audiences quite as much and made a touch less money, which is why we were pleasantly surprised to see Fuqua and Washington team up once again for a third film in the franchise.

The third film was released earlier this month and trust us: after you stream The Equalizer on Hulu, you’ll be ordering your movie tickets for the third film in this trilogy quicker than it takes Denzel to dispatch a disrespectful mafioso.