Top 10 Engrossing Movies Like 'The Equalizer' Everyone Should Watch

Updated on June 20, 2020
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

What Films Are Like The Equalizer?

The Equalizer starts off slow, spending the first 30 minutes building up the plot and introducing the audience to its larger-than-life, self-loathing protagonist, who’s also a soft-spoken person with a penchant for classical books. Forced out of his retirement, he goes back to his old ruthless ways to save a teenage girl.

It takes a long time for this action movie to get going, but it’s worth the wait. Once the carnage begins, it never lets up. This heavy-handed nail-biter is addictive and enigmatic all the way through.

It’s only fitting that you will look for something similar once you've watched this movie. I have got you covered with some films like The Equalizer with similar aesthetics and mind-boggling action.

Movies Similar To The Equalizer

  1. Mandy
  2. John Wick
  3. American Gangster
  4. Sicario
  5. Taxi Driver
  6. Man On Fire
  7. Leon: The Professional
  8. Law Abiding Citizen
  9. The Boondock Saints
  10. The November Man
  11. The Man From Nowhere
  12. Taken

1. Mandy

You haven’t seen anything like this dark and colorful revenge thriller, that’s a guarantee. This moody Panos Cosmatos directed feature will take you on a ride like no other film.

The first half takes some time to get into the groove, but once it gets going, you'll scramble for a breather. This is a story of a simple man on a quest to avenge the death of his girlfriend, in the goriest and most colorful ways possible.

Even as he grows increasingly paranoid and deranged, you'll root for him to come out unscathed. What starts off as a slow romantic movie turns into a feast for the gorehounds as the film progresses. Watch Mandy first-hand and let it bathe you in its splendor.

2. John Wick

John Wick, an ex-hitman, is living a peaceful life with his dog, the only semblance of love he's got. When he's forced out of this retirement by a couple of wannabe gangsters, he initiates an imminent all-out war - one that'll inevitably end up with the other side being decimated. It's John Wick they're up against.

Is he back in the business? Seems not. ‘Just here to sort some business out’, is what he mumbles when someone asks if he's back. Packed to the brim with lethal weapons, he methodically removes everyone who stands in his way, sacrificing his humane side bit by bit as the body count rises.

My takeaway? Don't kill someone's dog or all hell will break loose. If you're a dog lover, you'll certainly root for this killing spree.

3. American Gangster

American Gangster is the story of Frank Lucas, a black mobster in the 60s, who ruled Harlem with his cold, calculated, and ruthless scheming. He buys everyone and everything he lays his eyes upon, except for one person - a relentless cop who isn't ready to give in to his corrupt ways just yet. Their cat and mouse chase lead to chaos and mayhem all around the city, as both change their tactics at the drop of a hat, endangering the lives of everyone.

This slow burn feature is infused with some family drama, which fits perfectly in an otherwise unflinchingly cruel movie. Despite being a mobster, he's an enigmatic character - exuding kindness, contempt, and a Robinhood-esque manner. Lucas’ journey from being nothing to becoming a drug overlord is intriguing - one that'll sweep you off your feet with its mighty current.

4. Sicario

This Emily Blunt starrer comes from Denis Villeneuve, who directed the 2013 masterpiece, Prisoners.

Laced with gasp-inducing violence and tension, the majority of the movie takes place near the America-Mexico border, diving head-first into drug trafficking. It tops it all off with some gratifying revenge story at the end - one that'll definitely catch you off guard. This taut feature starts out as the usual cops vs cartel drama. However, as hidden agendas of both sides are revealed, choosing a side to root for becomes increasingly difficult. Can you pick a side when no one is right?

Denis poses the same question time and again throughout this grandiose spectacle, taking you on a treacherous, blood-soaked journey where everyone is working for their own benefit. With tensions in the team becoming evident, how long will things stay stable before they turn on each other? Watch Sicario to find out.

5. Taxi Driver

The plot of Taxi Driver follows a mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran who starts working as a taxi driver in New York after serving in the military. When he's not driving, he's busy cleaning up the streets, dealing with prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, gangsters, and anyone else whom he judges as degenerate scum.

It's a harrowing ride that showcases the transformation of a troubled ex-soldier into a sociopath. The rowdiness of the city's crowd slowly takes a toll on him, and you can see the gradual change in his antics as he becomes more menacing with time.

Robert De Niro, in what's possibly the best performance of his life, portrays a troubled, lonely man with such conviction that it's easy to forget these events are unfolding on screen. This Martin Scorsese’s directed feature can easily be mistaken as a straightforward psychological thriller upon first viewing. Things, however, are not as they appear, and one can't be blamed if they get tricked into believing what they see. The true concept only becomes crystal clear upon multiple viewings.

6. Man on Fire

When an ex-military man starts working as a bodyguard for a mogul, he soon finds himself babysitting her bright young little daughter. Just as he begins caring for her and starts getting his life back on track, she gets taken away. A lot of blood is shed in his quest for redemption, and can you blame our one-man army for the carnage?

Directed by Tony Scott, Man of Fire is a cerebral, no-holds-barred action movie that plumbs the depths of humanity and cruelty, at the same time. On one hand, it's packed with nail-biting, hard-to-watch action sequences, and on the other side of the coin lies an emotional tale of an alcoholic military man who has forgotten what joy and happiness feel like. Both aspects of the story feel well-balanced as it sucks you in its world of heartbreak, pain, and chaos.

Man on Fire often feels like a psychological therapy - one that's painful and agonizing, but necessary for the healing to begin. If this movie has not appeared in your radar up until now, it's about time you redeemed yourself.

7. Leon: The Professional

You don't need the budget of a blockbuster movie to make an impactful feature, and director Luc Besson proved it with his 1994 hit, Leon: The Professional.

The plot focuses on a ruthless, dogged hitman, who's never been caught. So slick is his work that he gets the job done right under everyone's nose and flees as soon as it's done. His 100% success streak runs the risk of being broken when a young girl begs for his help. ‘If you won't help me, I will die tonight’, is what she murmurs to the cold-hearted assassin. And thus, a story of a father-daughter-esque bond begins. How long will this seasoned assassin last against a city full of swindling cops?

Though far from the accurate depictions of the grim reality that cops and hitmen share, it still tugs at your heartstrings, making you emotionally invested in the fate of both the characters. It's heartwarming to see Leon's transformation from a brash, callous man to a caring father figure.

8. Law Abiding Citizen

Law Abiding Citizen might not be the only movie where the supposed bad guy is actually likable, but it certainly stands among the very few films where the lead is completely rootable, despite being on a murder spree.

The story follows a regular man who finds himself robbed of everything, including his family, thanks to the lacunas of the law. His culprits might have slipped through the cracks of the legal system, but they can’t escape from his wrath. As they say, ‘A man who doesn't have anything to lose shouldn't be underestimated,' and he proves this adage right when he starts exacting his own brand of justice.

9. The Boondock Saints

The plot revolves around two Irish brothers who vow to clean up the streets of Boston. As they kill every ‘bad’ person they can get their hands upon, these brothers start getting cheered for every heinous act. With cops closing in on them, how long will they keep their vigilantism going?

If you like to take critics’ reviews word for word, chances are that you missed out on this gem of a movie. Back when it was released, professional reviewers dismissed it as just another wannabe over-the-top brain-dead action thriller. Gradually, however, this Troy Duffy feature amassed a cult following of its own.

It might not have the most iconic dialogues and characters, but this indie feature packs a punch where it matters. Deireded, underrated, and underappreciated - Boondock Saints is one of the best movies to grace the silver screen.

If you're looking for a movie like The Equalizer, The Boondock Saints should be right up your alley.

10. The November Man

He's called ‘The November Man’ by his colleagues for a reason, for wherever he goes, nothing remains after he’s done.

The story spins around a dogged ex-CIA agent who's compelled out of his placid retirement by a handler. All hell breaks loose when he botches the mission of escorting an asset to Russia. To make matters worse, his trigger-happy ex-partner with an approval syndrome joins the party, resulting in delightful mayhem you'd love to feast your eyes upon.

Yes, some cliché moments will remind you of James Bond movies, but is it really a bad thing? The same old dish has been served in a refreshing way - something an action fan will cherish.

11.The Man From Nowhere

Directed and written by Lee Jeong-Beom, this Korean thriller is probably the best to come out of South Korea after Oldboy and The Wailing.

The story follows Cha Tae-Sik, a soft-spoken, good-hearted pawn shop owner. However, he's forced to change his antics and tactics when a young girl is kidnapped by drug traffickers. They blackmail and conspire against Cha, resulting in him being sent to jail. All hell breaks loose when he starts taking them out one by one.

This action-packed thriller is underpinned by a mesmerizing performance from Won Bin, who shines in the role of a no-nonsense man exacting revenge upon those who wronged him.

Despite lacking in the originality department, The Man From Nowhere packs enough jaw-dropping action to get you hooked instantly.

12. Taken

The story spins around an ex-CIA agent who's forced to come out of the shadows when his daughter is kidnapped. Forced into a corner, he goes into beast mode to hunt every perpetrator, returning back to his good old lethal ways.

If you've paid attention, Taken isn't exactly a darling of professional critiques. Unoriginal, mundane, and brain-dead are the words most reviewers have chosen to go with. I urge you to not pay any heed to their outcries. Do yourself a favor and give this heavy-handed package a shot. Thank me later!

Taken might not be the most resonating movie, thanks to rushed character development, but it certainly delivers when it comes to action and breathtaking drama.

Despite action thrillers popping left and right everywhere, I had my work cut out in compiling a list of similar movies to The Equalizer, for its one of a kind movie.

Did I miss out on any good movies? If you've come across any good pic that you think is worthy of at least a mention here, please let me know in the comments section. I'll be sure to check them out.


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