By Liz Chan
31st August 2023

The incredibly specific genre of "60-ish-year-old retired-unretired skilled operative comes back into the game for one last ride" is one that is near to my heart. I think there is simply an inherent fun in the premise of a legacy actor - old enough to be your father or grandpa - getting up to fight! Indeed, it seems I'm not alone and The People yearn to see such films grace their screens, with the success of Bob Odenkirk's jaded 'Nobody' (2021) to Keanu Reeves' slick 'John Wick' (2014).

'The Equalizer 3', starring Denzel Washington ('The Tragedy of Macbeth'), is the latest to tackle this premise – joining the roster of "one last rides" that have since turned into a series of multiple "one last rides", where in 2023 alone includes both 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One' and 'John Wick Chapter 4'.


Directed by Antoine Fuqua ('Training Day') in the third instalment to the 'Equalizer' franchise, Washington is Robert McCall, a man who holds a passion for retributive justice (equalizing things) with unique methods (gory violence). When a mission at a vineyard in Sicily brings a surprise wound, McCall is saved from the brink of death by a local doctor, Enzo (Remo Girone, 'Ford v Ferrari').

As McCall slowly comes to love life, food, and community in the Italian town while recuperating, the mafia Camorra led by brothers Vincent and Marco Quaranta (Andrea Scarduzio and Andrea Dodero) decidedly does not want McCall to experience Euro summer. From terrorising locals to peddling illegal substances, their actions are observed by an increasingly disturbed McCall until he decides the town is something worth fighting for. Understandably, he wants justice served and his Euro summer back. This motivates him to exact revenge by taking out the mafia one by one in incredibly gory ways, as well as tipping off CIA agent Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning, 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', 'War of the Worlds').

Exacting revenge and playing judge, jury and executioner is simply another Tuesday for Washington's McCall as he commands the screen with ultimate poise and sardonic humour.

'The Equalizer 3' is let down by a generally unexciting plot and execution – saved solely by Denzel Washington's charm and talent. Exacting revenge and playing judge, jury and executioner is simply another Tuesday for Washington's McCall as he commands the screen with ultimate poise and sardonic humour. However, 'Equalizer 3' sadly fails to pull in the same confidence and charm the main actor has due to its lack of style in both visuals and writing. The fight scenes, although fleetingly entertaining, are quickly forgettable; while the villains are dispensable and one-dimensional caricatures briefly parading around before getting flicked off the screen. Most apparent is the disappointing treatment of Fanning's Emma Collins, where she understandably struggles to deliver the most stereotypical "rookie female agent in a film" dialogue often parodied.

While 'The Equalizer 3' lands sorely and forgettably on the much lower end of the "one last ride" film collection, it carries a breezy run time with the infallible Denzel Washington equalizing people – doing exactly what it says on the tin.

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