Equalizer 3 Review: Denzel Washington, the linchpin of the “Equalizer” franchise, dons the mantle of Robert McCall one last time. In “Equalizer 3,” he smolders, struts, and captivates audiences as he embarks on a mysterious sojourn to Italy. While the film sticks to its tried-and-true formula of vigilantism, it also serves as a nostalgic curtain call for Washington and the series, drawing both applause and scrutiny for its ethical implications.
McCall, portrayed with sublime intensity by Washington, is a man of few words but many skills. An avenger shrouded in mystery, he embodies a restrained force that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. Whether he’s sipping coffee at an Italian café or walking through an idyllic Amalfi Coast town, his mere presence is a cue that chaos will soon unfold.
Despite being the third and potentially final installment, “Equalizer 3” offers few deviations from its predecessors. McCall remains the enigmatic force he’s always been—clad in black and prepared for combat. When circumstances turn violent, his exceptional combat skills, uncanny strength, and astute situational awareness come into play. If you’ve seen the previous films, you know not to leave a corkscrew around when McCall is in the vicinity.
The film opens with a splashy escapade in Sicily before transporting McCall to a secluded town on the Amalfi Coast. The absence of throngs of tourists in such a touristic locale stretches credulity, but it does offer a picturesque backdrop for McCall’s vengeful exploits. Here, director Antoine Fuqua and screenwriter Richard Wenk seem to be bidding an affectionate adieu to the world they’ve built over the years.
Fuqua, a director known for his dynamic visual flair, appears to have toned down his style for this swansong. The film’s aerial shots are as abundant as they are breathtaking, alternating between sweeping vistas and close-ups of the star-studded cast, including Dakota Fanning and Remo Girone. These stylistic choices, while less ostentatious than in previous films, still offer a cinematic spectacle befitting a final installment.
The “Equalizer” series, with its recurring themes and motifs, taps into the allure of the archetypal American anti-hero—a solitary figure who doles out justice on his own terms. In “Equalizer 3,” McCall’s purpose in Italy is kept deliberately vague until the film’s latter stages, keeping audiences guessing. But the film’s true appeal, as with its predecessors, lies in the visceral satisfaction of seeing McCall exact his form of justice, irrespective of the details.
The film’s entertainment value is tinged with ethical questions. McCall serves as judge, jury, and executioner, a role that could raise eyebrows in a world increasingly skeptical of unilateral justice. This is the paradox at the heart of the “Equalizer” franchise: it’s as compelling as it is morally ambiguous.
As Denzel Washington takes his final bow as Robert McCall, “Equalizer 3” remains a gripping yet familiar experience for fans. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it delivers what audiences have come to expect from the franchise: high-octane action, a charismatic lead, and ethical quandaries that linger long after the credits roll. And so, as the curtain falls on this chapter of cinematic vigilantism, one thing is clear: Washington’s portrayal of McCall will be a tough act to follow.