THE EQUALIZER 3
Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Eugenio Mastrandrea, David Denman, Gaia Scodellaro, Remo Girone, and Andrea Scarduzio
Director: Antoine Fuqua
The Equalizer 3 is an efficient and satisfying film that stands out from the recent trend of action-thriller sequels and reboots. Set in an idyllic Sicilian town rather than Boston, it balances, in a pleasantly jarring kind of way, picturesque sequences of Robert (Denzel Washington) exploring the village with some of the most graphic and gory violence seen in the franchise yet. Washington is heroic and charismatic despite committing many heinous acts, and to be honest, if the film was just two hours of Robert drinking tea in outdoor cafes, I still would have enjoyed it.
I guess director Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington were tired of The Equalizer getting forgotten in the recent action renaissance discussion. This third entry starts out so intensely that, when it returns to what the franchise does so well, meaning slowly connecting Robert McCall (Washington) to the people who gain his friendship and protection, there’s true weight in the slow yet thrilling build-up to the rest of the film’s brutality. Wherein the previous entries’ deliberate progression caused pacing issues, this one steadily escalates to a suspenseful crescendo, creating the most thematically satisfying entry in the series.
There is something much more endearing about The Equalizer 3 than the previous two entries, even if I feel about the same as I did its predecessors…meaning mostly disinterested. The idea of our lead settling down to use his resources to protect his new community is done well, but between the “new life” plotline and the hyper violence, the movie is rather dull. If it weren't for Denzel Washington’s natural charm, I’d have been pretty bored. It’s a fitting end to the trilogy since I never cared for these movies in the first place.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) returns in the most violent offering of The Equalizer yet, abandoning Boston for the beautiful backdrop of a small coastal town in Italy. Unlike its two predecessors, The Equalizer 3 is not constant all-guns-blazing action, but instead takes the time to really admire the gorgeous setting and the community that live there. In fact, this third entry excels at the slow, methodical bursts of action that deliver while continuing to play extremely well to Washington’s strengths and age, upping the gore substantially in a safe, befitting finale.
The Equalizer 3 plays out a narrative that is not new: a retired operative tries to reset and live the quiet life, but is reluctantly drawn back into the fight by his environment’s charms and a disdain for exploitative bullies. Director Antoine Fuqua takes a regrettably long time to develop the audience’s sympathies for the oppressed, which results in a story that slowburns for far too long but thankfully hits hard when it's finally time. Denzel Washington puts this entire production onto his capable shoulders, and is 100% the vigilante bad-ass I was hoping for.