The Equalizer 3 – movie review

The Camorra is in the sights of mysterious former government operative Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) in the violent, action-filled The Equalizer 3. The third and final film in the Equalizer trilogy, you can watch this one in isolation and make sense of it even if you haven’t seen the others. It’s directed by Antoine Fuqua, who has now worked with Washington five times, including on the first two Equalizer movies (2014 and 2018). Also back on the writing front is Richard Wenk (The Equalizer and The Equalizer 2).

McCall is a man whose life has been defined by violence, but he wants to put that behind him after finishing a really nasty job in Sicily. He leaves quite a mess, with bodies lying everywhere and yet without a mark on his frame, but upon exiting he is badly wounded from an unexpected source. Despite that, he drives away … until he collapses. He’s saved by the quick actions of police chief Giorgio Bonucci (Eugenio Mastrandrea).  Bunucci transports him to well-regarded and diplomatic doctor Enzo Arisio (Remo Girone), who knows not to ask too many questions.

His recovery is in a small, picturesque seaside town on the Amalfi coast, which McCall quickly takes a shine to. Only it turns out to be anything but peaceful, as a Mafia offshoot is strong-arming the locals, including a fishmonger and the chief of police. As the violence escalates, try as he does, McCall can’t help himself and becomes a one-man vigilante force. At the same time, he puts in an anonymous call to a young CIA analyst, Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning), informing her of a major drug importation ring. It isn’t long before the CIA is in full operational mode and Emma is receiving further guidance from McCall.

Washington is his usual polished and professional self in The Equalizer 3. He oozes menace and charm as the ruthless assassin who’s frequently underestimated but not to be crossed. It’s all about his calm demeanour and “can do” attitude. Confident – yes, cocky – no. Most noteworthy is a piercing glare that signals he is watching and waiting to strike. Remo Girone presents as decent and trustworthy as the medico. Eugenio Mastrandrea is stoic, but understandably shaken, as the policeman in the firing line, with his horrified family watching. Dakota Fanning plays Collins as determined but inexperienced as the character spars with and learns from McCall. There’s always a glint in the eyes of cafe barista Aminah (Gaia Scodellaro) who takes a shine to McCall. Marco Quaranta and his older brother Vincent are cast as the evil minds behind the operation.

Be warned, a number of scenes in The Equalizer 3 are particularly vicious and bloody. You may want to look away at certain points. In contrast, much of the landscape and cinematography (by Robert Richardson) is breathtaking – real picture postcard material. I found The Equalizer 3 brutal, but strangely compelling.

Alex First

Other reviews you might enjoy: