By Chris “Boogie” Brown
Before we review this movie, let’s establish something. “The Equalizer 3,” marking Denzel Washington’s third portrayal of the brooding assassin Robert McCall, dominated the US box office in its debut weekend, amassing an impressive $34.5 million in earnings. This makes it the second-highest opening for a Labor Day weekend, trailing only behind Marvel’s 2021 blockbuster “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which amassed an impressive $75 million within its initial three days. With the actor’s strike, Mr. Washington’s latest may have raked in more money with more promotion and press.
Nevertheless, the goat strikes gold.
Robert McCall, a skilled and dangerous former Marine and DIA agent played by Brother D, finds himself planted in a small town in Italy after a series of explosive events. McCall quickly develops a fondness for the peaceful people of this community, but he also comes to realize that it is under the control of local mafia figures. After witnessing numerous acts of violence against the townsfolk, McCall once again takes action, seeking retribution and justice for those unable to defend themselves.
This simple and straightforward framework makes “The Equalizer 3” the leanest entry in the franchise, with a runtime of just under 2 hours. The film also takes a quieter, more subdued approach, grounded in realism compared to its predecessors. In this particular chapter, we see Robert McCall as more reflective, contemplating retirement and yearning to leave his violent past behind by settling down in the tranquil town. While the film isn’t action-packed from start to finish, the action sequences it does have are purposeful, explosive, and extremely intense.
Under the excellent direction of Antoine Fuqua and with gorgeous cinematography by Robert Richardson, “The Equalizer 3” is visually stunning, capturing the breathtaking landscapes of Southern Italy and the dark depths of the criminal underworld portrayed in the story. The film also features a strong performance from Dakota Fanning, who reunites with Denzel 19 years after their collaboration in the 2004 classic “Man on Fire.” While the film’s villains are somewhat generic, their despicable actions build anticipation for their eventual reckoning at the hands of McCall.
Lastly, Denzel Washington is absolutely outstanding as Robert McCall, a role he has portrayed for the past 9 years. Whether it’s moments of introspection, investigative observation, or vengeful retaliation, Washington’s charisma, acting prowess, and on-screen presence are truly remarkable. Given that Denzel Washington is nearing 69 years old, the action scenes involving physicality are intentionally quick, grounded in realism, and employ a stealthier approach compared to the previous two installments. Nonetheless, the intensity of these scenes remains gripping and highly entertaining.
With “The Equalizer 3,” Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington have delivered a thrilling and satisfying conclusion to the Equalizer franchise. While the villains may adhere to a generic mold and the overall story follows a somewhat formulaic path, the film’s sharp direction, stunning cinematography, crowd-pleasing action, and Denzel Washington’s phenomenal acting make it an engaging entry in the Action/Thriller genre. Whether you’re a fan of Denzel or the previous Equalizer films, I wholeheartedly recommend giving this one a watch.