PG Score: 7.25/10
The Equalizer 3 was released in theaters on 9/1/23
Nothing says Labor Day better than Denzel Washington (Training Day) embracing a character that defends the hard-working citizens of the world. The third film in the franchise, The Equalizer 3 doesn’t do anything to separate itself from its predecessors, but it doesn’t need to. Violent and gruesome, Robert McCall takes us out of New England and brings us to the old world to bring justice the only way that he can: with blunt force and direct confrontation.
The appeal of this film, other than seeing Denzel tear apart bad guys, is the location. Filmed in Italy, we get some beautiful sites off the Southern Coast. The old world brings a unique flavor to the franchise that was missing in the first two films, as they never really left Massachusetts and had a city vibe compared to the rustic venues of the third film.
A Vulnerable McCall
The only fresh and new take on this installment is we join Robert McCall (Washington) towards the end of his self-appointed mission. Almost everything goes right, but all it takes is one oversight to set up the rest of the film's story. Washington took a turn at physical vulnerability, which is a first for this character, as he is cared for and recovers in a town he sees as a possible future home. Par for the course, Denzel for the most part is the same character with the same issues, just with a physical liability. This isn’t a film for character development, but it is what we have come to expect and enjoy.
Reuniting with Washington for the first time since Man on Fire, Dakota Fanning (Push) plays an up-and-coming CIA agent who answers the call. Great seeing these two back together, if in different roles, though, Washington looks out for her in his own way, which might get her a major promotion once this film is done. Another familiar face is Roy from The Office, aka David Denman (Fanboys) who plays the in-the-field CIA agent, works with Fanning’s Emma Collins, and benefits from all the tips McCall supplies.
Equalizer 3: The Action You Needed
Other than the opening, there isn’t much deviation from the film's formula. Washington’s McCall never feels in danger and once he sets his sights on the problem, it’s pretty much over. Outclassed and torn apart, the local crime organization is no match for this OCD-trained assassin. Predictable or not, it’s a fun and visceral experience. People going to the theater for this film know what to expect and shouldn't be surprised when Denzel doesn't give an Oscar-worthy performance.
The Equalizer 3 came out at the right time. With Hollywood at a standstill, it’s great to see one of its legends take center stage and give us a kick-your-butt film. It won’t win any awards, but that’s not the type of film The Equalizer 3 is trying to be. It has a quick 109-minute run time; sometimes that's needed just to see the good guys win and the bad guys get what’s coming to them.