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The Equalizer 3 (15, 109 Minutes)
Do we really need a third Equalizer film? I mean we’ve got the gist now, haven’t we?
Who am I kidding? Of course we do! It’s Denzel (no need for a surname) beating the crap out of bad guys, for goodness sake!
If the first film was about Robert McCall’s discovery of a purpose as he wrestled with his violent past and the promise he made to his late wife, and the second was a straightforward revenge tale, then Antoine Fuqua’s third, and apparently final outing for this defender of the wronged sees McCall (two C’s, two L’s) presented with an opportunity for at least a degree of inner peace and solac after an unexpected act of kindness from a complete stranger.
Recovering from a near fatal bullet wound in a small Sicilian village (what’s he doing in Sicily? You’ll need to wait until the last few minutes for the full answer to that, along with a lump in the throat moment of brilliant rounding up of the trilogy) the quiet gentleman with his amusing little OCD foibles is quickly accepted into village life and the atmosphere rubs off on him.
He loves this place and its people, even if they are a fantasy interpretation of how Hollywood thinks Sicilian villagers should behave.
So when he discovers that they are living in terror of a crime family, well it’s time to set the timer on his watch because even the mafia doesn’t stand a chance when Roberto decides they have to be toppled and Denzel dishing out his particular brand of justice (or should that be punishment?) is as chilling in its brutality as its swift efficiency.
This is a man whose outward demeanour and inherent decency hides a stone cold trained covert killer who looks deep into the eyes of any villain stupid enough to cross his path as the life ebbs from them, as if that final image of their killer is destined follow them into the afterlife.
Meanwhile, he has, for once, put his head above the parapet by making contact with a young CIA operative – played by Denzel’s Man On Fire child co-star Dakota Fanning, now all grown up – who follows his deliberately laid trail of breadcrumbs to southern Italy where a plot involving Syrian drug money and terrorism ties in with the camorra he is about to eradicate (no spoilers there, we all know how this is going to play out).
But why this girl? Everything McCall does has a reason behind it.
There’s no point in trying to critique Denzel Washington because he comes with a guarantee of excellence and Equalizer 3 is no exception. This has all the ingredients of a great old school action thriller without the need for huge CGI-dominated explosions. Denzel brings depth and unmistakeable class to everything he does.
If this does indeed turn out to be the end of the Equalizer run, it’s a fine finale that excites while leaving a satisfying air of completion.
Do we really need an Equalizer 4?
Well I certainly wouldn’t say no, but I’m not holding my breath.