After all, one of those things is good

Like many a burned-out employee, “The Equalizer” was in desperate need of a vacation.

And so Denzel Washington’s vigilante film series flies to Italy for its final chapter, The Equalizer 3, and soaks up the Amalfi Coast sunshine while the Amalfi Coast is drenched in the blood of implacable criminals.

Movie review

Running time: 109 minutes. Rated R (strong gory violence and some speech). In cinemas from September 1st.

The first two films in this violent and bloody series, directed by Antoine Fuqua, were pathologically uncomfortable. Far too dark with a drab Boston setting and way more storyline than needed, the drudgery got on your nerves.

Washington was always good at it, of course, but the lift was too heavy even for the veteran Oscar winner.

In what is supposedly the last appearance of the series, one of their films does justice to the ever-growing talent of its leading actor. While Equalizer 3 doesn’t add anything new to the thriller genre, it wisely honors what already worked well.

Namely the mafia.

Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 3
Denzel Washington (right) is back as Robert McCall in The Equalizer 3.

The Threequalizer begins with Robert McCall (Washington), a former CIA black ops agent with the ability to kill, at a vineyard in Sicily surrounded by mutilated corpses. The dead – McCall’s victims – are mobsters who used the vineyard as a cover to smuggle deadly synthetic amphetamines out of Syria.

Often frustratingly unbeatable, this time McCall is shot in the back and wakes up confused in an idyllic town near Naples to recuperate at a doctor’s home.

“Are you a good man or a bad man?” asks the doctor.

A dazed McCall replies, “I don’t know,” and passes out.

Giorgio Antoninu (left) and Andrea Scarduzio
Giorgio Antoninu (left) and Andrea Scarduzio play members of the villainous Naples Camorra.

By making Washington’s badass bedridden and then limping, he gives the normally impenetrable McCall a certain vulnerability and a compelling story arc that the first two films lacked. For once, an “Equalizer” is more than a grueling walk in the park.

As the weeks go by, the hard-nosed man calls himself Roberto, begins to love his adopted country, befriends the locals and decides to stay there. He is determined to protect the tormented citizens from the mafia-like Camorra troops by any means necessary – aka merciless, cruel death.

Fuqua likes to reduce these color films almost to greyscale, but Italy still looks as beautiful as it is ominous. The roar of motorbikes outside, ubiquitous in Western Europe, reinforces our paranoia about what evil forces might be heading towards them.

Dakota Fanning
CIA agent Collins (Dakota Fanning) pursues Italian drug dealers with McCall’s help.

As he settles in, McCall helps a CIA agent named Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning), who is suspicious and intrigued by the mysterious informant, track down the Sicilian drug dealers.

Any fix Fuqua makes this time is for the better. Surprisingly for a trilogy ending, “3” is the shortest of the “Equalizer” series, lasting 30 minutes less than the first. Belissimo.

Italian organized crime is superior to the deadly McCall – a Godzilla vs. Mothra from the seedy underbelly of the world. On their own, the villains are static and uninteresting, but their unique personalities don’t matter.

Denzel Washington
Washington began playing McCall nine years ago when he was 59.

The reason for this franchise is Washington, who was 59 when he began the role nine years ago, and who conveys impressive pathos to a man we watch shoving a poker down a racquet’s throat. Sometimes he even elicits a hearty laugh from his killing sprees.

It’s nice to see The Equalizer, a series I’ve hated until now, coming out with a movie that lives up so much to its lousy predecessors.

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing

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