The Equalizer is an action-packed movie about a man with a mysterious past, Denzel Washington, who lives a quiet and scheduled life. However, he comes across a girl who is into prostitution and he takes a liking to her. When she comes to harm, he goes to his violent ways to seek vengeance on those that hurt her. A revenge motif movie, with a larger than life hero, these films are the fodder on which Hollywood makes a good amount of money and they make for very enjoyable watches.
With that said, we have tried to come up with a list of films similar to The Equalizer that are our recommendations. If you are interested, you might be able to stream some of these movies like The Equalizer on Netflix or Amazon Prime or even Hulu.
14. Commando (1985)
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a ruthless commando who comes out of retirement when his daughter is kidnapped. Very much like the Equalizer where Washington takes on the entire Russian Mob, this movie too sees a lone wolf hero who takes on everyone who stands in his way, leading to one of the highest body counts attributed to a single hero in Hollywood. But hey, we love the action and Commando has dollops of it so we’d seriously recommend you watch it if you liked Equalizer.
13. Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman star in this hardcore action film where Olympus refers to the White House. When the President comes under attack, it falls to Secret Service agent Mike Banning to rescue the head and save the day. A classic lone wolf narrative, Mike is an agent who loses slight favor with the president after an unforeseen accident causes the death of his wife. However, when push comes to shove, the man walks in alone and uses all his expertise to take down the terrorist outfit. If fast-paced narratives and good action sequences are your things then watch this movie immediately.
12. Man on Fire (2004)
Another Denzel Washington movie itself. The plotline is similar to The Equalizer except for the fact that the violence meted out here is much more graphic and the character played by Washington a lot more guided by rage than the cold and calculating Equalizer. He plays the role of a bodyguard, who picks the job to make some good money. He is initially distant but begins to develop an attachment to the girl he protects. When she is kidnapped and killed, he goes berserk and takes down the entire kidnapping ring in a movie that will have you gripping the edge of your seat.
11. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Gerard Butler stars in this thrilling movie, and he is the law-abiding citizen which is an ironic naming. A man whose family becomes the victim of a home invasion, he first turns to the justice system. However, when the perpetrators slip through the loopholes in the system, the man takes the law into his own hands. What starts off as a simple revenge mission soon blows into a full-scale fight against the justice system itself, with the protagonist bent on tearing down the whole corrupt system. A lone man on a mission, the planning of the assassinations while being in a jail cell speaks to a degree of brilliance and the character is reticent and shares various other similarities with the Equalizer making us almost believe that if the roles were reversed both characters would have acted in the same way.
10. Shooter (2007)
Directed by Antwon Fuqua, this film stars Mark Wahlberg as Bob Lee Swagger. He is one of the finest marksmen in the world, but a man who doesn’t enjoy the spotlight. He lives away from civilization but is eventually tracked down by a colonel and assigned on a special duty to protect the president. However, he soon finds himself framed for the murder of the president. He goes on the run but at the same time tries to uncover the plot behind the murder. When he realizes the double cross, he wreaks vengeance in a lone wolf Hollywood style action movie.
9. Boondock Saints (1999)
This movie is the story of two Irish brothers who live a quiet life and barely scrape by. However, when a Russian mobster tries to shut down their favorite bar on Saint Patrick’s day, the brothers start a fight which they win. However, the mobsters return and threaten to kill the brothers, which becomes their biggest mistake. Not only do they survive the assault and kill the mobsters but also swear vengeance on the entire Russian mob and in fact all organized crime in the city. This then starts a vigilante duo that believes in guns and violence and cleans crime up much like the Equalizer does.
8. The November Man (2014)
Pierce Brosnan plays the November Man, a CIA operative named such because of his bleakness and his penchant for killing. He is brought out of retirement to help an agent come in. However, the agent is killed and just happens to be an agent he was intimate with. The November Man sets upon a mission to get to the bottom of things which uncovers a huge CIA conspiracy and in the process sets this lone wolf against big adversaries, adversaries he manages to take down with bullets and a degree of panache.
7. Taken (2008)
Very few lone wolves are as impressive as Liam Neeson in Taken. An ex CIA operative, the man comes out of retirement for one last job when his own daughter is kidnapped. If one takes the Man on Fire story and applies it to one’s own family and changes the location to Paris, one would have a similar story structure. Brian Mills (Neeson) takes down the entire kidnapping and human trafficking ring before finally getting to his daughter, and he dismantles the operation with extreme prejudice and extreme violence, all the things that make for a great action movie.
6. John Wick (2014)
People deal with losses in different ways and we never know what triggers us – for the Equalizer it was the girl, for Wick it is his dog. John Wick a legendary assassin and feared enforcer for the Russian mob is attacked in his house, his car is stolen and his dog is killed by his former boss’s son. Keanu Reeves as John Wick systematically kills anyone in his way, which is a major part of the mob, to get to the boss’ son. The boss of course as any father would, tries to protect the boy and in the process makes attempts on Wick’s life, which of course means that the boss is the last person Wick kills before he feels satisfied with his path of vengeance. One of the finest lone wolf movies and a film with really laudable action sequences, this film will be a favorite among those who like Equalizer.
5. A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
Liam Neeson plays a hard boiled private eye, a cop who was dishonorably discharged because he tried to prevent a crime but was drinking at the time and a misfired bullet killed a civilian. The story follows this man trying to come to terms with his life, battling his demons, but when he is contacted by a family whose daughter is kidnapped, he gets on the trail of two sick men who happen to be kidnapping crime members’ children. A gripping and dark tale with spurts of violence that keeps the pace tight, this movie is a perfect lone wolf example in the character of Neeson but also shows a tender side to the man as he grows to care for other individuals.
4. Safe House (2012)
Denzel Washington plays a CIA fugitive in this movie. It has all the trademarks of a Washington niche character in Tobias Frost. Frost is a lone wolf, a highly skilled CIA operative who becomes a whistle blower and is treated as a criminal. A fantastic movie, especially if the agency’s possible conspiracy theories interest you, Frost brings to the movie the same virtue and desire to do good that marks the Equalizer’s character.
3. American Gangster (2007)
This is not exactly a movie like The Equalizer, but Denzel Washington brings a lot of character traits here that we see reflected in Equalizer. The story is about Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin and his rise and eventual fall. Washington brings the aspects of a quietly menacing man that we have come to know even better in Equalizer. The air of silent threat around him is what fans of Equalizer will enjoy most about this movie, except of course the great plot and direction by Ridley Scott.
2. Leon: The Professional (1994)
Luc Besson is perhaps the first to introduce this trope of a lone wolf developing attachment for a figure that arouses pity and goes on a destructive, sometimes self destructive path, to ensure justice prevails. The film starring Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and a very young Natalie Portman is a classic – a tale of an assassin who takes a girl under his wing after he sees her parents killed by a group of corrupt cops. The story follows Leon as he tries to protect the girl and solve the situation. An excellent movie and easily one of the Hollywood must watches, this movie is perhaps one that had some influence on the Equalizer.
1. Taxi Driver (1976)
The Scorsese classic, one of the finest films to come out of Hollywood and definitely one of the films that influenced the Equalizer story trope. The film deals with Travis Bickle played by Robert De Niro, a war vet turned taxi driver, who grows increasingly dissatisfied with the corruption and moral decrepitude that haunts the city. When a prostitute he grows fond of is beaten up, he goes down a dark path of vengeance that Scorsese shows brilliantly in the climactic violent shootout. An excellent film which all movie lovers must watch, it is especially imperative you watch it if you are a fan of The Equalizer.