The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington parallels many of the twelve stages of the hero’s journey. Robert McCall (Washington), is a retired CIA operative living in Boston who frequents a restaurant where he sees a young Russian prostitute being mistreated by her pimp. Although he tries to suppress the urge to act, McCall eventually decides to buy the young girl’s freedom for $9,800; an offer which is declined by the brutal and sadistic sex traffickers. The call to action begins abruptly, skipping the third step which would be refusal. McCall goes on a methodical quest to destroy the criminal organization; starting at the bottom and working his way to the top; a journey that takes him to Moscow, where he craftily arranges the death of the Russian Mafia’s leader, Vladimir Pushkin. Along the way, we can discern the sixth step as McCall enlists the aid of a security guard; a man who McCall had helped in the past. We can see step five, reaching a threshold, when McCall consults with one of his former operatives who is also retired yet influential. In reality, he is seeking tacit approval from a superior.
This is the story of a reluctant warrior. McCall had retired, and turned his back on the world of violence he had lived in for so long. Once galvanized into action, our protagonist is unstoppable, exhibiting extraordinary powers and resolve. The road back follows the climax, as McCall returns to the same quiet life he left behind, once again meeting up with Alina, the former prostitute, who has been transformed by liberation. There is no resurrection unless we consider mere survival as such. An elixir of sorts can be imagined in the reward of being virtuous and brave, while at the same time sheltering under a blanket of anonymous humility.