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Laramie Movie Scope:

The Equalizer 3

Equalizer versus the Mafia – a mismatch

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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September 8, 2023 – The Equalizer, based on a mid-1980s TV show of the same name, has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with this film trilogy, starting in 2014, and a new TV series, starring Queen Latifah, starting in 2021.

The film trilogy has stuck to the same formula, Robert McCall (Denzel Washington, reprising his role) is a one-man wrecking crew who repeatedly takes on powerful criminal organizations and defeats them. In this latest film, McCall, while tracking down stolen retirement funds, runs across a large smuggling operation in Sicily run by a large criminal organization, the Camorra. The operation seems to be connected to terrorists.

McCall is shot while liberating some money from the vault of a crime lord, and is rescued by a carabiniere, Gio Bonucci (played by Eugenio Mastrandrea) who takes him to a local doctor, Enzo Arisio (played by Remo Girone). Arisio, a highly respected member of the community, insists that the authorities not be notified about McCall's gunshot wound, and McCall slowly recovers at Arisio's home.

While recovering, McCall grows fond of the people of the town, who accept him. He grows especially fond of Aminah, a pretty waitress (played by Gaia Scodellaro). He sees that the town is being terrorized by the Camorra, and decides to do something about it. He calls the CIA to tip them off anonymously about the smuggling operation connected to terrorists, and agent Emma Collins (Dakota Fanning of “Ocean's Eight”) shows up with a team to investigate.

Collins proves to be smart and tough. With a lot of help from McCall, they start to make a big dent in the operations of the local Camorra clan, run by Vincent Quaranta (Andrea Scarduzio). Collins, McCall and others in town all become targets of Quaranta and his operatives. Quaranta eventually declares war on the entire town.

There is plenty of action in this film, but the screenplay, by Richard Wenk (who also wrote the screenplays for the first two Equalizer movies) takes time to develop some complexity in its characters, and in their relationship to each other as well. I like the idea that a stranger would be so wholeheartedly accepted into a community, and that community would so readily rally and around him and protect him.

I wonder how many communities in the United States would accept such a stranger, particularly one with such dark skin? I think the real reaction of the townspeople in this situation would be more like the cowardly people of Hadleyville who refused to help Marshal Will Kane when he asked for their help in “High Noon.” Anyway, it is an attractive idea to show the best in people, and it does make for a very compelling scene in the movie.

As usual, the masterful acting ability of Denzel Washington is one of the main reasons to watch this movie. It was nice to see Dakota Fanning again too, although I did not recognize her from her child acting days (“Man on Fire” and “War of the Worlds”). It looks like maybe she has avoided the pitfalls that have afflicted so many other child actors in the Hollywood meat grinder. She is excellent in this movie. The entire cast of this movie gives effective performances.

You have to expect a lot of violence in a movie like this, but the overly graphic way the violence is presented did put me off a bit, even so. Still, it is a good, solid action movie, and a worthy sequel. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2023 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]