FILM REVIEW: The Equalizer 3
Not the perfectly positioned punch to the gut that the first film was
In the third entry of The Equalizer trilogy, mild-mannered vigilante, Robert McCall, finally finds peace amongst the idyllic townspeople of a small Italian town. But when the mafia comes and starts causing trouble, Robert must resort to his old ways to maintain the peace he craves.
A slow burn to begin with, The Equalizer 3 focuses less on action and takes its time basking in Robert’s new life, going to cafés, eating good food, and forming connections with the people. But once Robert is forced to confront members of the mafia in a restaurant, you get what you came for: Denzel Washington making threatening speeches, enacting his brutal form of justice, and cathartically punishing those who deserve it.
Washington is as charming and watchable as he always is, bringing his all to a frankly two-dimensional (in the best way) role that some actors would do considerably less with, and it is just about the most satisfying thing to watch Robert inflict his black-and-white moral code on the scumbags who have got it coming to them.
Critics have said that the first Equalizer has little meaning beyond punishing bad people - this reviewer asks: ‘Does it need more meaning than that?’ But The Equalizer 3, meandering in the first half and simply giving you what you expect in the second, feels more meaningless in a way. There is a whole CIA subplot featuring Dakota Fanning that could have been removed entirely without changing a thing, and the action is good but hardly the best we’ve seen in this franchise, resulting in a third entry that is not as tight as the first.
The Equalizer 3 features all the elements you want from this franchise, namely an arse-kicking Denzel Washington and bad guys in need of some humbling, but just know that this is not the perfectly positioned punch to the gut that the first film was.