The Equalizer 3 is a fitting finale to this rebooted trilogy

Courtesy photo by Stefano Montesi/Sony Pictures
‘DO I LOOK LIKE A KILLER?’: CIA operative Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning) questions Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) about a bunch of dead mafiosi, in The Equalizer 3, screening in local theaters.

Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers, Training Day, King Arthur, Shooter, Brooklyn’s Finest, Emancipation) returns to direct this third installment in the film franchise based on the CBS TV series The Equalizer (1985 to 1989) about mysterious retired intelligence operative Robert McCall, who uses his deadly skills to help innocent people caught up in dangerous situations. Denzel Washington stars as McCall, and in this installment, he finds himself settling into life in Southern Italy, when he discovers his new friends are under the control of the local mafia. (109 min.) 

Glen: There’s something deeply satisfying about the premise of this franchise—a lone wolf who metes out justice to the corrupt and powerful who prey on the innocent and weak. It’s what we wish would happen in real life. I never watched the TV show upon which this trilogy is based, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each installment of this Fuqua/Washington collaboration. This new story starts out strong right out of the gate, with an end-of-film-worthy climax pitting McCall against a wing of the mafia. It’s almost the end of him. Wounded, he finds himself in the town of Altomonte being cared for by the local doctor, Enzo (Reme Girone). As he recovers, he gets to know the town folk, and he begins to feel a real sense of peace … until he discovers another branch of the mafia has its hooks in the town.

Anna: Violence for violence’s sake isn’t nearly as much fun to watch as this brand of justice. Washington is always a stellar lead, and he’s made for this type of role. Robert McCall is a badass who’s driven by a deep sense of right and wrong. A man who’s seemingly adrift and falls in love with this little town tucked into the mountains as he begins to feel a sense of home. There’s no way McCall is going to let a bunch of jerks ruin this slice of paradise. It was fun to see Washington back on screen with Dakota Fanning, who was just 10 when the two starred in Man on Fire together—another great action revenge film. Fanning plays an agent tipped off by McCall who comes to Italy to discover a drug ring and track down the man who told her to come. The story is violent and fast paced, but McCall himself is a quiet, methodical man who knows his move three turns from now. Like you said, there’s something immensely satisfying about watching bad people get their comeuppance. In fact, we were on such a high from it we went home to watch the first two Equalizer flicks.

Glen: McCall is a compelling character. He’s softspoken, thoughtful, and polite … until it’s time to rumble. Then he’s efficient, deadly, and merciless. A man of precision, he can inform the bad guys exactly how much time they have to reverse course before it’s too late. “Nine seconds,” he says, starting the stopwatch on his digital wristwatch. Hats off to Fuqua. He knows how to direct an effective action sequence as well as how to deliver the emotional payoff of a scene. Sure, this is formulaic, but it’s a helluva good formula. Even though this is the end of the trilogy, I read there might be a prequel. If there is, count me in.

Anna: We’ll be there if that happens! Don’t fix what’s not broken: This storyline and this type of character work. The great thing about movies like this for me is that they are easily rewatchable—knowing the plotline and ending doesn’t ruin a second or third viewing. I’ll happily watch as many as they want to make as long as the integrity of the formula isn’t lost over time. Beat the heat and see this one in the theater.

Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey from the Sun’s sister paper and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles listings. Comment at [email protected].

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