Denzel Washington returns to the big screen in the highly anticipated third installment of the Equalizer franchise, aptly titled Equalizer 3. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, this action-packed thriller showcases Washington's impeccable skills as the enigmatic Robert McCall, a man with a unique set of talents and a relentless pursuit of justice. In this review, we delve into the visceral banquet of violence, the visual and aural aspects of the film, the reunion of Washington with his Man on Fire co-star, Dakota Fanning, and the overall impact of Equalizer 3.
- Release Date: UK - Currently Showing, US - September 1
- Director: Antoine Fuqua
- Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Gaia Scodellaro, Remo Girone, Andrea Scarduzio
- Genre: Action, Thriller
- Runtime: Approx. 110 minutes
The Visceral Banquet of Violence
Equalizer 3 wastes no time in delivering its signature gore right from the opening scene. We are transported to a Sicilian vineyard resembling a war zone, with lifeless bodies sprawled against walls and the remnants of brutal deaths splattered across the surroundings. The stage is set for McCall's grand entrance as he calmly sits amidst a group of henchmen, ready to unleash his deadly skills.
"They should have let me in," McCall muses to himself, a tortured soul burdened by his addiction to death. With his trademark composure, he gives the goons nine seconds to comply, and within that precise window, he dispatches them with ruthless precision. The room becomes a battlefield as McCall jams his gun into one assailant's eye, shoots another multiple times through the head, and even uses a double-barrelled shotgun to incapacitate the remaining enemies. This is just a taste of the relentless action that awaits audiences in Equalizer 3.
A Visual and Aural Step-Down
While Denzel Washington's physical presence and choreography remain impressive, the cinematography by Robert Richardson feels slightly cheaper this time around. The dark and shadowy visuals lack the same impact as in previous films, and Antoine Fuqua's direction doesn't reach the same level of inspiration. Although the action sequences are still joyous, the memorable moments of the past start to fade from memory.
Marcelo Zarvos' score adds a pulse-racing, grungy motif whenever the menacing mafiosos make their presence known. However, the absence of Harry Gregson-Williams' iconic Equalizer theme is deeply felt. The first film's clever use of needle-dropped tracks added to its B-movie charm, but without them, a sense of self-seriousness creeps in, detracting from the overall enjoyment of the film.
Man on Fire Reunion
One of the highlights of Equalizer 3 is the reunion between Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, who previously shared the screen in the critically acclaimed film, Man on Fire. Fanning, now all-grown-up, portrays a CIA officer who tracks down McCall after the events in Sicily. The chemistry between Washington and Fanning is palpable, with their scenes together exuding a sense of familiarity and ease. Washington's visible delight in sharing the screen with Fanning adds an extra layer of enjoyment for the audience.
Supporting Cast and Disappointing Baddies
The supporting cast in Equalizer 3 delivers commendable performances. Gaia Scodellaro shines as an affectionate cafe owner who forms a connection with McCall, adding a touch of warmth to the film. Remo Girone portrays a genial local doctor, whose growing rapport with McCall becomes a source of enjoyment. However, it is the villains who disappoint in this installment.
Led by Andrea Scarduzio's Vincent, the baddies attempt to instill fear through despicable acts, such as hanging a wheelchair-bound grandpa out of a window. While these scenes are meant to be terrifying within the context of the film, they lack the impact necessary to resonate with the audience. Unlike Marton Csokas' portrayal of Nikolai in the previous film, the villains in Equalizer 3 fail to pose a significant threat to McCall. Their lack of familiarity with his game leaves little room for respect or investment.
A Weak-Sauce Storyline
Equalizer 3 attempts to engage viewers with a convoluted plot involving a "jihadi drug" that funds terrorism. However, this storyline falls flat and fails to captivate. Once the focus shifts away from McCall, the film loses its momentum and struggles to maintain interest. Fortunately, with a runtime of just under 110 minutes, audiences are spared from spending too much time away from McCall's captivating presence. Nonetheless, the weak storyline remains a noticeable flaw by the film's conclusion.
Verdict: A Bittersweet Farewell
Equalizer 3 serves as a bittersweet farewell to Denzel Washington's portrayal of Robert McCall. While the film delivers on its promise of violent delights and ends, it falls short of reaching the heights of its predecessors. The visual and aural aspects lack the same impact, and the villains fail to leave a lasting impression. However, the reunion between Washington and Dakota Fanning provides a delightful spark, and Washington's performance as McCall remains a testament to his talent and screen presence.
In conclusion, Equalizer 3 may not be the masterpiece that Denzel Washington fans were hoping for, but it still offers an entertaining and action-packed experience. As we bid farewell to McCall, we can only hope that Denzel Washington continues to grace the silver screen with his exceptional performances for years to come.