Movie review: Denzel, Dakota reunite for 'Equalizer 3'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Sep 21 2023 12:13 PM

Denzel Washington in 'The Equalizer 3.' Handout
Denzel Washington in 'The Equalizer 3.' Handout

Retired US Marine and black ops agent Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) has been seriously injured after a bloody mission in Sicily. He was found unconscious in his car by a local police officer Gio Bonucci (Eugenio Mastrandrea). He was brought to Altamonte to be treated by Dr. Enzo Arisio (Remo Girone). As he was recovering, McCall enjoyed the laidback lifestyle and friendly people in that small coastal village in Southern Italy.

However, Altamonte was being terrorized by gangsters led by the Quaranta brothers (Andrea Dodero and Andrea Scarduzio), who were forcing the residents to leave their homes so their organization can use the town for their criminal operations. Bonucci dared to interfere with the gang's activities, so he and his family were assaulted in their own home. Seeing the suffering of his friends and neighbors, McCall, true to his nature, decided to intervene.

This is the third installment of the only film franchise that Denzel Washington accepted to do. Robert McCall had much empathy for regular people who were being hurt and exploited by powerful bad guys. He would fight for their freedom against their oppressors, which was the premise since the original late 1980s TV series starring Edward Woodward as McCall. Like the first two films, the kills here were still shockingly violent and excruciatingly painful.

The story of this new one is relatively simple, with McCall only fighting against local mobsters disturbing the peace of order in his neighborhood. However, what will set this one apart for the two previous films was the picturesque location in southern coast of Italy. Another distinctive feature of this sequel was that a major part of the dialogue was actually in Italian, which audiences (especially those averse to subtitles) may not like. 

Another remarkable aspect of this film was the guest appearance of child superstar of the aughts, Dakota Fanning. This is a reunion project for Washington and Fanning, who was his co-star in "Man on Fire" (2004), when Fanning, now 29 year old, was only 10 years old. She played CIA agent Emma Collins to whom McCall specifically gave a major tip. She will figure in an 11th hour revelation which will be meaningful to fans of the first two films. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."