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FILM REVIEW: The Equalizer - 3 STARS Featured

FILM REVIEW: The Equalizer - 3 STARS

Slow and steady finishes the race
ROBERT McCall (Denzel Washington), after a bloody shootout in Southern Italy leads to an injury with a long recovery period, finds himself at home in a small Italian cliffside town.
However, his slice of idyllic paradise is shattered when he realises that his new friends in this town are under the thumb of the Mafia. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends protector, and use his old skills to take on the mafia.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, The Equalizer 3 wraps up (purportedly) Denzel’s turn as the impeccably timed hitman. And while the film doesn’t overstay its welcome, it certainly does make a strong case for it to be the final installment in this franchise. 
The first installment of The Equalizer was a joyous little bit of action heaven. Robert McCall was a refreshingly down to Earth assassin, whose antics weren’t too far out of the realm of possibility, coupled with an uncanny knack for planning that made him just enough of a superhuman presence to retain interest.
The second installment was a much worse exploration of the character, building out the mythos and trapping the finale in a poorly rendered thunderstorm that made the entire third act feel neutered. 
Here, The Equalizer about faces once again, now set in Italy with McCall opening the piece with a bloody display of brutality as he wraps up the destruction of a drug importer in Sicily.
Wounded in the most unexpected of ways on his way out, he finds himself trapped and recovering in a small Italian town, where he forms a bond with some locals and decides to defend them against the mafia.
It’s a huge target for him to take down, but also one that has him at a bit of a weakness - both physically from the in film gunshot wound, and from Denzel’s advancing age. 
Smartly, Fuqua plays with the formula and has McCall hone in more to his planning and sneaking than the fist fights and physicality of the first film. But McCall’s savagery is never lost, because when the violence comes, it is brutal and cruel.
On top of that, Washington gives the role a level of calm that feels almost psychopathic - completely devoid of humanity. The final kill, as Denzel walks a dying man along the streets of Naples, is particularly terrifying. 
While the action never suffers in this film, what does seem to drag it down is the supporting cast. In particular, some of the scenes showcasing the town - the football team winning and coming into the square, the cafe - come across as cheap and fake, while also being largely unnecessary. 
The story, too, is a little bit meh. There is very little on display here that we haven’t seen before from the franchise, and one wishes that there was a little bit more depth to what is happening on screen.
Ultimately, it feels too cheap, too convenient and too slow to be an effective actioner, and too bland to be a thriller or drama.
In the end, The Equalizer 3 does feel like a little bit of a low rent version of the original, but the savagery of the violence and the gorgeous Italian setting go a long way to skipping over the budgetary constraints.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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