In the sun-soaked landscapes of Sicily, “The Equalizer 3” opens with a brutal spectacle: a bloody showdown in a rustic villa, setting a tone that unfortunately prevails throughout the film. Denzel Washington reprises his role as the enigmatic hitman Robert McCall, but this time, the story lacks the finesse and excitement of its predecessors.
Washington’s partnership with director Antoine Fuqua has resulted in a string of films, with “The Equalizer 3” marking their fifth collaboration. Sadly, the magic they once shared in “Training Day” is nowhere to be found here. While McCall’s character attempts to recapture the allure of classic Western heroes, the execution falls flat. The attempt to infuse Western elements into the narrative feels forced, and McCall’s excessive violence blurs the line between rooting for the protagonist and questioning his actions.
The plot meanders through a confusing subplot involving CIA Agent Emma Collins, played by Dakota Fanning, which barely connects to McCall’s mission in the Italian village. Fanning struggles to breathe life into her character, leaving the audience uninvested in her story arc. The action sequences, too, lack creativity, with uninspired choreography and forgettable scores failing to elevate the film above mediocrity.
Despite its shortcomings, Denzel Washington’s performance as McCall remains a beacon of entertainment. His commitment to the role is evident, and he attempts to breathe life into a character lost in a poorly constructed plot. Unfortunately, his efforts cannot salvage the film from its lackluster narrative and uninspired action scenes.
While it’s easy to draw comparisons to the success of the “John Wick” franchise, “The Equalizer 3” falls short of evolving like its counterpart. With no emotional depth, narrative coherence, or genuine genre enthusiasm, this installment feels like a missed opportunity in the action genre.
In theaters now, but proceed with caution.