In the movie "The Equalizer", why does McCall time himself with the stopwatch in a lot of scenes, what's the benefit of that?

Like when Nikolai showed up at his front door.

  • 6
    I would guess that he wants to see if he still "has it". He is highly regimented -- the way he moves his fork and knife and lays the book on the table. He is precisely scheduled. He has an acute sense of time (which is why he can tell Ralphie "40 seconds exactly").
    – rosends
    Jan 1, 2015 at 15:38
  • My take is that his real skill is in planning. He knows what he'll be doing long before he has to do it. The timing thing is to validate his plans--to check on how accurately he planned things out in terms of timing.
    – DA.
    Jun 1, 2015 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


It's supposed to show that he is a master of time, probably as a mention/quality to his past life. Time here demonstrates attention to detail, habits and schedules. This is also seen in older movies like

  • The Matrix Reloaded with The Architect
  • Star Trek with Spock

or even more recently White Rose in Mr. Robot (eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v)

Time is their weapon and way to move about.

So, the constant references to McCall isn't a benefit, it's more of the meta-habit of the habits he executes. Very loosely it can be seen as obsessive compulsive, since he doesn't seem that bothered after killing the men in the room such that it didn't match the 16 seconds he initially predicted.

  • I think this answer is incomplete. With the Russians, he says "16 seconds" and starts his watch at the start, then he occasionally counts "1 one-thousand" (but not constantly!), etc. up to "8 one-thousand". At the end of the fight, his watch says 28 seconds, and he says "28 minus 9, 19" and nods his head as if that is OK (vs the 16 he said at the start, presumably?). So what is he occasionally counting? Maybe the time spent moving/not killing? And he subtracts that from the total time to just get kill time?
    – simpleuser
    Jan 4, 2021 at 8:48

I think its just a productivity technique called Time Logging. Benefits ofcourse is that you could make the mundane chores more challenging and competetive, thereby getting more done in less time

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