THE EQUALIZER. Columbia Pictures, 2014. Denzel Washington (Robert McCall), Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, David Meunier, Johnny Skourtis. Loosely based on the CBS television series (1985-89) created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim and starring Edward Woodward. Director: Antoine Fuqua.

   Well, the name’s the same, and by time the movie’s ended, you can see the new Robert McCall going into same business as the original one did. In that regard, you might call this the prequel.

   This the film version is a delight for the eyes of any action thriller fan, much flashier than the one I watched many years ago on TV, and naturally a lot more violent. Everybody loves to get revenge, no matter not small the slight, and everyone who does will love this movie.

   It starts very slowly, depicting as it does the life of a dedicated foreman at a home improvement warehouse store, living a life of quiet, spending evenings in a diner eating and reading alone. But in so doing he makes the acquaintance and a small friendship with Elena, a young local hooker, played to perfection by an actress previously unknown to me, Chloë Grace Moretz. They are close enough that when she is beaten up by a gang of Russian pimps, he takes it upon himself to avenge her.

   Here is where the action (finally) begins. A confrontation in their lair ends up with all five of the thugs dead within an interval of time that seems like less than a minute. There are secrets, the viewer quickly realizes, that the mild-mannered McCall had not revealed until now.

   All well and good, but is it possible that he may have bitten off more than he can chew. It so happens that the five pimps were just the tip of a Russian mafia iceberg. One man against a huge East Coast operation, headquartered back in Moscow? Seems impossible, but true.

   But to me, without a challenge — and there is none — there is also no movie. No matter how beautifully filmed and choreographed, it’s all movie fakery, with no more depth than the pages of a comic book. What I’d liked to have seen is some weakness in McCall, enough that he could have used Elena’s assistance, for example. She doesn’t show up from the time she’s in the hospital until the end of the movie, a character and performance on the part of Chloë Grace Moretz that’s utterly wasted.