Saturday 2 March 2024

Movie Review: The Equalizer 3 (2023)

Genre: Action Thriller  
Director: Antoine Fuqua  
Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning  
Running Time: 109 minutes  

Synopsis: In Sicily, ex-US Marine Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) infiltrates a gangster-controlled villa in his pursuit of a stolen item. Wounded while exfiltrating, he is helped by a kindly doctor and a police officer to recuperate in the town of Altamonte on the Amelfi coast. Once healthy, McCall starts to enjoy the slower pace of life and befriends locals including business owner Aminah (Gaia Scodellaro). He alerts the CIA's Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning) about dangerous drugs at the Sicilian villa, then tangles with a brutal Camorra faction led by Vincent (Andrea Scarduzio). 

What Works Well: The third chapter in Robert McCall's even-the-score vengeance adventures is a bit more laid back, with enjoyment of the quaint Italian coastal scenery the primary preoccupation for director Antoine Fuqua. Plenty of time is invested interacting with good-hearted locals and admiring idyllic cafes, piazzas, small stores, and winding steep staircases. In contrast the action scenes are few and far between, but still full of impact and gore. The plot is a standard set-up for a one-against-many showdown, and mafioso Vincent is appropriately despicable, but neither he nor his goon army can resist Washington's effortless star charisma.

What Does Not Work As Well: The script reaches for an awkward mix of Camorra, ISIS, drug trafficking, and off-screen acts of terrorism, but never achieves contextual success. The climax is particularly bland and free of tension, while Dakota Fanning tries hard but never comes close to convincing as a CIA agent.

Conclusion: Pretty picturesque and predictably polished.

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