As I write this I have just finished up the posts for my Montreal-to-Boston cruise aboard the MS Maasdam, the second season of The Equalizer was finally made available last Tuesday some six years after the release of Season One (as well as the complete set directly from the new distributor), we’re just over three weeks away from the fourth season opener of Person of Interest, and we’re just over two weeks away from the release of The Equalizer movie.
When last we discussed Person of Interest (see: Equalizing a Person of Interest) I compared Person of Interest to that fascinating, ground-breaking 1980s series The Equalizer, starring the late Edward Woodward.
Boy, was I wrong. As of the end of Season Three Person of Interest is no longer a remake of The Equalizer; it’s become a remake of the 1970 film Colossus: The Forbin Project. For those unfamiliar with Colossus, the story revolves around Dr. Charles Forbin who creates an artificial intelligence to handle the strategic nuclear forces of the United States. Things seem to go well until it is discovered that the U.S.S.R. has developed a machine (sound familiar?) with the same capabilities. When Colossus discovers the existence of the other machine (Guardian), things go to hell in a hurry.
This past season on Person of Interest we discover that a second machine — Samaritan — has gone online and is now trying to track down and kill anyone connected to the first machine (code named Northern Lights). I started getting the uncomfortable feeling that I had seen this plot before when there were still several Season Three episodes remaining, so I ordered Colossus from NetFlix to refresh my memory.
Yep. I’ve seen it before, all right. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s just that Colossus has no business mucking about with what is at its core a remake of The Equalizer.
Speaking of which, we have another Equalizer headed our way Friday, September 26 (actually a few days ago, as this post is scheduled to hit October 1), and this one is already a bit of a disappointment to me even before I’ve seen it. The original concept of The Equalizer centered around a character who was supposed to think of a retired version of James Bond. Edward Woodward’s Robert McCall was British; a former agent sick of lies, deceit, and killing; a person who dressed immaculately and who carried a Walther PPK/S (for marginal differences between the PPK/S and Agent 007’s PPK see: The Perfect Fashion Accessory—Walther PPK in .32 ACP).
Denzel Washington’s characterization of Robert McCall is none of those things. And while I have high hopes that this version of The Equalizer will do well, the writers would have done just as well naming Mr. Washington’s character “Harold Potter” or “Michael Hammer” for all the dissimilarities involved.
At any rate, let’s hope Person of Interest (and The Equalizer before it) hasn’t lost what made it such a hit — a talented, hardened, disillusioned former agent/killer who helps everyday people against insurmountable odds — rather than a science fiction battle pitting supercomputer against supercomputer with the main characters playing pawns caught in the middle.
- Person of Interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_of_Interest_%28TV_series%29
- The Equalizer (television): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Equalizer
- Edward Woodward: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Woodward
- The Equalizer on DVD: http://www.visualentertainment.tv/collections/action-tv-series/products/the-equalizer-complete-collection-limited-edition
- The Equalizer (film): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Equalizer_%28film%29
- Colossus: The Forbin Project: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus:_The_Forbin_Project