Denzel Washington returned for the third and final time this past weekend as Robert McCall, aka The Equalizer, in a solid action thriller that proves Denzel is still one of the all-time greatest badass action stars.
While on a mission in Italy, McCall is wounded and gets assistance in the small seaside town of Altamonte. While recovering from his wounds, McCall begins to grow extremely fond of the town and its residents and believes he may have finally found a place where he can live in peace and forget about his violent past. Violence finds McCall however when he learns that The Camorra, a branch of the Mafia, is extorting the town and terrorizing the residents. Unable to stand by when someone is in trouble, McCall begins to intervene, which coincides with a CIA investigation that McCall instigates with an anonymous phone call to a rookie agent Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning). The plot is very tropey and basic but it delivers exactly what you would want and expect. The bad guys are absurdly bad and the citizens of Altamonte are the sweetest, nicest people on the planet and it’s as satisfying as ever to see Denzel take down the bad guys and defend his new home. There really isn’t any sort of arc or the standard story curve to The Equalizer 3, it just keeps escalating the villains’ evil until McCall finally intervenes. The movie does drag a bit after the fantastic opening sequence as it really takes its time to showcase Altamonte and its residents and what McCall’s life would be like if he stayed. The other movies did this as well and it doesn’t take away that much from the movie but if you’re looking for non-stop action, you may be disappointed until things start to ramp up in the second half of the movie.
Denzel is never anything less than great and he is excellent here as well. He’s really created a unique sort of badass in Robert McCall, with his OCD tendencies, supernatural situational awareness, and creative expressions of violence. More than either of the previous two movies, The Equalizer 3 really makes McCall feel like a horror movie monster doing good, as the set pieces lean into McCall creeping in the shadows and striking with a variety of sharp objects to grisly murder the bad guys. If you’re a fan of Halloween or Friday the 13th, you’ll get that style of brutality and kills from Robert McCall here. There are not really any big, traditional action sequences, like shootouts or chases, but I appreciate that they are aware of Denzel’s age and not trying to do the Liam Neeson route of body doubles and horrific editing to make it seem like he’s still a super spry super agent. Dakota Fanning is solid as well and it’s fun to have the Man on Fire reunion and she and Denzel have a great rapport as McCall playfully plays innocent to the events that he set in motion. Andrea Scarduzio and Andrea Dodero are great villains and infinitely hatable, which makes the vengeance wrought by McCall all the more satisfying.
If you enjoyed the prior two Equalizer movies The Equalizer 3 is on par with them and should satisfy your Denzel action needs. The plot isn’t doing anything unique or interesting but it does the job of building up some truly despicable villains and then giving you some excellent catharsis as McCall destroys them all. This isn’t the best action movie of the year by any means but it is a solid and satisfying action thriller that is definitely worth checking out, either in theaters now or at home when it hits streaming/VOD/Digital.
Where to watch The Equalizer 2
I’m like the J. Jonah Jameson of Everything Action, writing and editing and constantly demanding pictures of Spider-Man.