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Film Review: THE EQUALIZER 3 (2023): Denzel Washington is Back in Action in a Serviceable Thriller

Denzel Washington The Equalizer

The Equalizer 3 Review

The Equalizer 3 (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by Richard Wenk, Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim and starring Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Eugenio Mastrandrea, David Denman, Gaia Scodellaro, Remo Girone, Andrea Scarduzio, Daniele Perrone, Zakaria Hamza, Niccolo Fava and Niccolo Senni.

Perhaps, Denzel Washington doesn’t have to prove himself anymore. His last Oscar-nominated role in The Tragedy of Macbeth has earned him the right to take a walk in the park and considering his amazing acting abilities, there’s not much dialogue to recite in his role as Robert “Roberto” McCall in director Antoine Fuqua’s entertaining action picture, The Equalizer 3. Fuqua’s movie essentially works as a standalone film even if you haven’t seen the previous two pictures in the franchise. “Denzel” is always a compelling action hero even if he isn’t given much to do here other than act heroic and walk around like he’s injured for some sections of the new movie. Still, Fuqua delivers the goods with a Naples, Italy setting and some inspired action sequences that will keep audiences watching all the way through.

The film opens in a grisly fashion. Dead bodies are all over a huge house and one of them seems to have an ax through his head. The gruesome style the picture begins with isn’t necessarily an indicator of what’s to come for the rest of the movie. Although there are gory scenes later on, the movie is mostly going to be watchable by the majority of audiences inclined to see it in the first place. McCall doesn’t take any prisoners and makes sure he takes out an entire crew of baddies at the film’s start. He makes a major mistake when he doesn’t shoot a kid, and McCall gets shot himself. An older gentleman helps nurse him back to health and tends to McCall’s wounds.

McCall could have fled Italy but he sees what’s happening in town. He doesn’t like it much. A local fish store owner is being harassed and assaulted by the mob for money and the mafia is also trying to gain possession of apartments to make casinos, resorts, etc. This movie becomes McCall versus the mob as he takes a liking to the town’s residents, including a local waitress named Aminah (Gaia Scodellaro). McCall fits right in with the locals and wears a stylish hat that couldn’t be sold at a store but looks great on him.

The CIA gets involved in the action of the movie. Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning), who works for the CIA, is called by McCall who informs her of the wrongdoings happening in his vicinity. Emma arrives and McCall calls her out at an outdoor eatery where they exchange some witty banter. David Denman plays the agent who works alongside Emma and aids her in discovering what, exactly, is going on and, hopefully, putting an end to it. When Emma is injured in an explosion, the plot starts to get more complicated as McCall must soon take matters into his own hands.

The supporting cast is all solid with several standouts. Gaia Scodellaro, as sort of a new companion for McCall, has a very intriguing screen presence which manifests itself in her scenes with Washington. Andrea Scarduzio efficiently plays a mafia kingpin named Vincent Quaranta and Eugenio Mastrandrea plays Gio Bonucci, the family man who gets brutally attacked during the course of the movie. These performers are intensely efficient in their roles and have solid scenes throughout.

Washington and Fanning seem to be having a good time reuniting together on screen. They both appeared in the superior Man on Fire almost 20 years back. They have a unique rapport together in the new picture, for sure. Washington just has to appear and his very presence exudes sophistication. Fanning holds her own beside him and matches him note for note in their scenes together.

Washington’s McCall calls himself Roberto being that he’s in an Italian setting throughout the film. It’s a clever touch. Washington even has a scene that resembles one from Training Day. In this scene, McCall is standing up for his new friends and going up against the central bad guy and putting down his two guns. Luckily, McCall doesn’t get shot because the residents have their phones out taking videos and the police ultimately come. Remember when Denzel was the bad guy in his Oscar-winning role from Training Day? Towards the end of that film, there was a crowd that turned up against him to help take him down. This time, a crowd is on his side to support him as he’s the hero. This scenario helps make for an interesting contrast between the two films.

Fuqua has made better films than The Equalizer 3. Yet, there’s something about his new movie sequel that makes it feel perfect at this point in his career. Though it’s overly graphic at times, this movie ultimately becomes the type of “hero versus villains” movie that fans of the star and director can enjoy without looking too closely at it for flaws. They’re there but The Equalizer 3 is still an assured action picture that will satisfy fans of both the actor and director. They’ve proved themselves before in better films but, now, they can just relax and make a totally entertaining thriller without having to seem like they’re trying to outdo themselves. Fuqua and Denzel make this third film in the franchise compelling and entertaining. There’s nothing more assuring than knowing you’re in good hands while watching a movie like this.

Rating: 7/10

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