THE EQUALIZER 3 (2023)
Release Date: 09/01/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Action. Crime. Thriller.
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"Robert McCall finds himself at home in Southern Italy but he discovers his friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends' protector by taking on the mafia."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Denzel Washington returns to conclude his first ever trilogy with The Equalizer 3 - another first in his career after The Equalizer 2 took away his record for years without participating in a follow-up. It’s fair to say I’m a fan of these features, they’re simplistic, not overly convoluted acts of vengeance in pursuit of justice and they’re all headed by an Academy Award Winner… What could be better? Denzel Washington’s Robert McCall is the tamed embodiment of vengeance, yet he maintains his uncanny charm in every scene he’s in. After three outings with Washington at the helm, it's becoming more and more difficult to have ever seen anyone else fulfill this role.
When you look at an action focused franchise like John Wick, the direction and choreography are top notch craft, but it's in the story as it evolves throughout the films that it becomes more and more complicated with the world being structured around John. Here, we have a killer of mysterious origins, possibly a retired hitman that three films in and his background remains classified. McCall is ultimately someone with the desire to settle down for some peace and quiet in his retirement, residing in this newly discovered safe haven. Where the series falls off for some are the parts where our lead is figuring out his next move, allowing himself to make the smart play versus going in guns ablazing and dying without due notice.
In The Equalizer 3, the village he resides in is his motivator for coming back out of hiding. We get plenty of time with the mainstay of townsfolk and get to understand how close of a connection everyone has. Robert McCall is good at what he specializes in, as is established prominently in the opening minutes. Antoine Fuqua continues his trilogy and finalizes his story in a way that makes the action feel swift and clean yet incredibly violent and grotesque but simultaneously justified for the actions of those who are terrorizing the town.
Washington isn’t providing an awards worthy performance here, nor was he in the previous two films but his distinct suaveness makes him eternally watchable. His reconnection with Man on Fire co-star Dakota Fanning is a sweet affair, offering in theme, a mysterious mentorship for Fanning’s Collins as she hunts down a sudden influx in drug trafficking within this small secluded village. Villains Vincent (Andrea Scarduzio) and Gio (Eugenio Mastrandrea) are nasty beings, displaying the telltale signs of greed and pure evil, as they suck the town dry and plan to burn it to ash. If there was a solid negative to be made, it would be given to the depth of the villains’ arc. We have such a significant amount of time learning about the villagers that when it comes to the villain’s overarching plans, it all comes off a little one dimensional.
If you’ve glossed over the stellar first feature and therefore missed the sequel, but are now intrigued by the release of a third in an unprecedented Denzel Washington franchise - The Equalizer 3 is the reason to catch up. A grim, yet beautiful image of a seaside Italian village infested by a criminal undertaking that is brought to its knees by a mysterious force in the shadows of the night. Fuqua’s The Equalizer 3 is a thrilling conclusion and a satisfying finale that leaves the door open if McCall were to ever have come out of retirement.