You can never go wrong with Denzel Washington in almost any film that he’s in. There’s always going to be something interesting or action-packed that keeps you watching. The Equalizer is a series of films that have the famous actor taking down bag guys who have done injustices to common folk, with grave consequences. And while the formula for these films isn’t as over-the-top as other series like John Wick, the violence has always had a strong sense of purpose and reason. The Equalizer 3 continues what came before but takes the story to a very different setting, and yet still manages to remain interesting.
This third film in the series follows former government assassin Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington, to Italy. Robert takes down a warehouse full of criminals who turn out to be working in collaboration with a terrorist group in Europe. In the process, he is injured and almost dies from his wounds, but is taken in by a local cop who brings him to a nearby doctor in Altamonte. As Robert recovers, he connects with the people of the town. But a local mafia group increases its aggressiveness in terrorizing the town, provoking Robert to once again take to his old ways. This leads to a clash between Robert and the mafia that connects to something much bigger.
Denzel Washington does a fantastic job bringing a lot of heavy emotion and weight to his performance, showing you the physical and mental toll Robert’s exploits have taken on him. Because of this, the movie has a beginning that kicks off with an action sequence and then really slows down. For some, it might feel like things will drag, but the movie is actually setting up really important pieces to the story that fully pay off by the time things wrap up.
There are even a few callbacks to the first two films that are interesting ideas, most of which are not outright told to the audience but rather shown. If you’ve been watching these movies up to now, you’ll appreciate the attention to detail, even though they’re not too important to the story as a whole.
The weakest part about The Equalizer 3 is how almost all of the other characters besides Robert are forgettable. While they have a part to play in Robert’s story as he stays in Altamonte, they don’t have any deep connection to Robert. The town cop who saves him, played by Eugenio Mastrandrea, has a subplot that connects to the local mafia that feels rushed and unexplored in some ways. By the time things come to a boil in the town, it’s like he and his family have their part in the story wrapped up. It would’ve been more interesting if he somehow was able to help Robert more when taking on the local mafia thugs.
Speaking of which, the mafia boss is the villain and feels as one-dimensional as you might think. There are a lot of cruel moments from him and his underlings that make it very clear that they are all irredeemable. But they also don’t feel as if they have a bigger connection to the town beyond wanting to establish hotels and businesses they control there. In the end, they are there is a massive problem that causes Robert to come out of hiding and fight them. And when you see how cruel they can be, you’ll be satisfied when Robert brings some element of justice for their actions.
While The Equalizer 3 does have some great action scenes with brutal moments, it also manages to squeeze in a few great interactions that are calmer. Denzel Washington has some really good dialogue exchanges with Dakota Fanning, who plays a CIA agent that gets information on Robert, that feel layered and witty. Although there’s always a sense that Robert is a few steps further ahead of her, the conversations the two of them have are good moments that set up more of the action that comes later. At the same time, Robert’s interactions with the town doctor are also good moments. There’s a sense of decency that the two share, despite the harsh reality of what the town faces with the mafia causing problems.
And yet an underdeveloped part of the film is Robert’s connection with Aminah, a local waitress in the town played by Gaia Scodellaro. The film goes out of its way to show that the two seem romantically interested in one another, but doesn’t really go forward in exploring it nor does it play a factor in anything towards the end.
The moments between them are sweet and give a sense of warmth that Robert finds while recovering in the town, even showing the two spending time together at a local event. But the stakes from clashing with the mafia never truly threaten that relationship in a big way. It would’ve made Robert’s decision to take action against the criminals even bigger and more impactful, where things were starting to affect him on an even more personal level outside of what was happening to the town itself.
This is because a lot of the film tries to show how much restraint Robert has while seeing things go from bad to worse. The mafia’s actions are meant to push him to a point where Robert needs to take action to stop these bad men from hurting good people. It’s a similar theme that we see in the first two Equalizer films, and it works out good in here. But there’s a missing component to why Robert personally feels that he needs to do something about everything. There’s a scene that almost feels like this within a restaurant, but it’s not over something that is personal to Robert that becomes the breaking point for everything.
The Equalizer 3 is a solid film that may or may not be as good as the first two for some viewers. It has great action scenes that will impress you with their brutality, while also justifying why they happen. Although some of the plot stumbles in a few places, the overall story is interesting enough to keep you watching and enjoying how things unfold in it. It might not be the best film he’s ever done, but you can never truly go wrong by watching a movie with Denzel Washington in it.
What do you think of The Equalizer 3? Have you watched the previous films before this one? What is your favorite Denzel Washington movie? Share your thoughts about everything down below in the comment section!
The Equalizer 3
There is some great action in this movie, with some brutal moments that will shock you. But there is an interesting story here that justifies a lot of the brutality that happens. Some plot points feel underwhelming or not given enough time to explore, with a few that don’t fully connect to the larger conflict. And yet there are great moments between characters with good dialogue and setup for the rest of the film. Denzel Washington brings his A-game, but other characters feel a bit more forgettable.
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