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Equalizer 3, The


Stars: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Andrea Dodero, Andrea Scarduzio, David Denman, Remo Girone, Eugenio Mastrandrea, Daniele Perrone, Sonia Ammar, Melissa Leo, Gaia Scodellaro

Director: Antoine Fuqua

This is possibly the best of the three corpse-strewn adventures of FBI Agent turned all-round avenger Robert McCall (Washington, easily the best thing in the film) finding him in Sicily, where he infiltrates the lair of a capo specialising in drugs and money laundering, and wipes out the entire cabal, only to be shot in the back by the capo's young son.

Letting his FBI contact Emma Collins (Fanning) know where to find the money, drugs and bodies, McCall is gradually nursed back to health by a local doctor (Girone) in a coastal suburb of Naples.

The film starts with a blast of action, then slows right down for quite a while, as director Fuqua carefully establishes the small-town atmosphere of the harbour community, which gradually accepts the tea-drinking American, who is seduced by its tranquillity and friendliness, into its midst.

This being an action film, however, it soon becomes apparent that business sections of the town are under the thumb of the local Mafia, who, led by Marco (Dodero) and his motorcycle gang, exact vicious 'persuasion' on those unwilling to pay 'protection' money, while his older brother, the Mafia boss (Scarduzio), aims to buy up the entire town at bargain prices to build hotels and casinos there.

'The Camorra - they're like cancer,' the doctor tells McCall 'and, like cancer, no cure.'

Needless to say, after the local carabiniere is beaten and tortured, and his family threatened, McCall is soon drawn into the town's problems.

The extremely protracted ultra-violence will more than satisfy fans of the series, although the film gets a bit too Godfather III towards the end, and a sequence where the town's crooked police chief defies and insults the Mafia leader at the Mafia HQ (without regard for the consequences?) does take some believing.

Still, Washington's less-is-more style has never been more effective than in this episode, and he's nicely complemented by Fanning, who, as a child star, appeared with him in Man on Fire back in 2004. The exquisitely photographed harbour settings, especially at night, give the film a picturesque punch not normally seen in these demolition derbies.

David Quinlan

USA/Italy 2023. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by Company 3 .
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Sep 2023