The Equalizer 3
Violent sequel concludes franchise on high note.
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Without a doubt Denzel Washington is one of those performers for whom I’d turn up were he simply reading the phone book. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed seeing him transform from serious actor (which he still most assuredly is) to kick-ass codger in director Antoine Fuqua’s adaptations of the 1980s television series “The Equalizer.” The frequent collaborators have reteamed and concluded their trilogy with “The Equalizer 3” (now in theaters), which almost hits the heights of the bitchin’ first installment and serves as a marked improvement over its immediate predecessor.
Washington again plays the role of Robert McCall, a former government hatchet man-turned-vigilante for good, who gets himself shot while dismantling a drug ring in Sicily. He’s discovered passed out in his escape vehicle outside a small village along the Amalfi Coast by kindly police officer Gio Bonucci (Eugenio Mastrandrea). Bonucci turns McCall over to the kindlier, elderly village doctor Enzo Arisio (Remo Girone), who nurses our titular Equalizer back to health and allows him to stay at his humble abode.
McCall falls in love with the village – which takes the Olive Garden’s old adage, “When you’re here, you’re family” to the nth degree – and its people. He has tea at a local café and makes eyes at its comely owner Aminah (Gaia Scodellaro). He also buys a spiffy new hat! McCall’s tranquility is disrupted by gangster Vincent Quaranta (Andrea Scarduzio) and his underling baby brother Marco (Andrea Dodero). The elderly Quaranta wants to dot the seaside with casinos and condos and is perfectly happy to displace villagers through violence. Alas, McCall is a roadblock to Quaranta’s “progress” and the men come to loggerheads.
“The Equalizer 3” plays like “Gomorrah” meets those George Clooney Nescafé commercials with Washington lurking about like a Nubian Michael Myers. This is easily the most violent of the three “Equalizer” pictures – McCall jams a gun into a gangster’s ocular cavity, blows his brains out and blasts another baddie in the process – and this is no small feat if you recollect the first film’s “Home Alone” by way of Home Depot denouement.
Fuqua is operating at his Tony Scott-iest going so far as to cast Washington’s “Man on Fire” co-star Dakota Fanning as a junior CIA operative with whom McCall collaborates.
“The Equalizer 3” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s handsomely made and sports stunning scenery and vicious violence – all of which is lensed by the incomparable Robert Richardson. If you enjoy watching Washington’s McCall f*ck up shmucks (and I most decidedly do) this latest and last installment to “The Equalizer” franchise will most assuredly please.