The Equalizer 3 (2023) Movie Review – A brutal and satisfying ending to the action trilogy

A Brutal Return for Robert McCall

Denzel Washington returns to the role of Robert McCall, the ex-intelligence officer with a particular set of skills that sends bad guys running for their lives. In the long awaited sequel, The Equalizer 3 sees McCall retire to Sicily, Italy, hell bent on putting his past behind him and settling into a more peaceful life. That peace lasts for almost 7 seconds and counting, via McCall’s now iconic stopwatch. He gets wind of a drug smuggling operation, and brutality ensues.

Washington has never been an actor to star in loads of sequels to his many successful films. In fact, The Equalizer 2 in 2018 was his first ever sequel. Hard to believe after decades in the business that he’d never got into the sequel merry go round. However, this is a testament to the kind of thespian that he is, not wanting to cash in on follow ups to his most successful properties for no reason.

In McCall, Washington has found a character that he wants to explore even further. Five years have passed since he last played him, and he’s back in a thoroughly entertaining action movie sequel. 

Antoine Fuqua returns to direct and complete the trilogy he began with Washington way back in 2014, and the results are resoundingly positive. It gets off to a brutal start that grabs the audience by the throat and never lets go from there. McCall is on a trail that leads him to Italy’s most brutal iteration of the Mafia, and it proves to be his bloodiest task yet.

The film adds Dakota Fanning to the cast, as CIA agent Emma Collins, and reunites her with Washington for the first time since they appeared on screen together in Man on Fire. Despite nearly 20 years passing by, the two stars still possess that same chemistry that helps to make this an entertaining entry in the series. 

McCall vs The Mafia is a showdown that had fans of the franchise whetting their appetites for before the film was released, and as entertaining as the fights between them are, some of the characterization of the villains falls a bit short. Whilst setting McCall up in his new surroundings, as he recovers from a gunshot in the back, Jason Bourne style, there is a lack of interaction and set up for the villains of the piece.

These villains come across as one dimensional and don’t seem to offer much resistance to our protagonist. We have the stereotypical aspects of the Mafia, the crew stood around making classic Italian cuisine and breaking balls, and bread. There’s also a mob funeral that ends in a particularly nasty way for one unfortunate side character. But nothing sets them apart from McCall’s previous encounters. 

For all the action (and there is plenty) the film also succeeds in it’s quieter moments, when McCall is interacting with the locals in Sicily, and pondering the prospect of finally getting away from all the hustle and bustle and retiring in peace. There is a hint of a romantic relationship that is never fully explored, and a sweet friendship with the local doctor who saved his life. 

Ultimately, this is an enjoyable action film, that feels like a fitting ending to a brilliant trilogy, but it also leaves the door open for more entries in the future. Fans of the franchise won’t be left disappointed but also not clamouring for more. 


Read More: The Equalizer 3 Ending Explained

Feel free to check out more of our movie reviews here!

  • Verdict - 8/10

1 thought on “The Equalizer 3 (2023) Movie Review – A brutal and satisfying ending to the action trilogy”

Leave a comment