The Equalizer 3 (2023) Review

Brutally Entertaining


The Equalizer 3 is a satisfyingly violent end to Denzel’s action trilogy with hateful (if generic) villains and enough moments of extreme violence to keep any action fan happy. It’s also under 2 hours long which is a nice change with some memorable character moments inbetween the carnage.

Plot: Robert McCall finds himself at home in Southern Italy but he discovers his friends are under the control of local crime bosses. As events turn deadly, McCall knows what he has to do: become his friends’ protector by taking on the mafia.

Review: I go into some minor spoilers here, so if you don’t want to know anything about the story then you’d best not read any further.

It’s been a long five years since Denzel last graced our screens as the angel of vengeance Robert McCall in The Equalizer 2, so I’ve been looking forward to this belated 3rd and final entry in the franchise. Director Antoine Fuqua also returns bringing his gritty visual style while keeping everything coherent, and this might well be the most violent movie in the franchise.

It wastes no time getting going as we are introduced to Robert doing what he does but within the first few minutes he shoots a guy through the eye then shoots through the hole in his head to hit other bad guys. Now THIS is cinema.

Robert is injured and needs time to heal and is taken in by a kindly doctor in Italy; he slowly begins to find peace with the small town and its people however, it doesn’t take long for evil to come along and Robert has to use his particular set of skills once again.

The story is generic stuff with one dimensional villains but they are so despicable that you can’t wait for them to get what they deserve. Robert can’t sit idly by and watch them terrorize the locals, so he helps out a CIA agent (played by his Man on Fire co-star Dakota Fanning) to bring down their operation once and for all.

This almost feels like a horror movie in places as it really gets quite graphic but it’s also profoundly satisfying as Robert loves to punish bullies which is exactly what the villains are here. They deserve everything they get (and worse) so you’re cheering him on every step of the way.

In terms of action we get a couple of explosions, shootings, stabbings and a brief fight scene but these movies were never really about fight scenes but Robert using his wits to take down his opponents. I love how he is always one step ahead of them making him an almost invincible badass.

At an hour and 49 minutes the film moves along well getting intense at some points and then it slows down to establish the characters; it could maybe have trimmed a few minutes here and there but it’s certainly never dull and has a surprisingly rousing ending which will have you smiling.

Overall, The Equalizer 3 is a brutally satisfying end to the trilogy with Denzel at his best and some graphic moments of extreme violence (no complaints here). The villains are forgettable but still nasty enough to make you want to see them get their much-deserved comeuppance. It’s also under 2 hours which is refreshing, so it never outstays its welcome.