Starting his journey as a filmmaker with Chow Yun-Fat’s Hollywood debut, the iconic The Replacement Killers, director Antoine Fuqua has attained a certain mastery over the crime-action genre of movies in his three-decade-long career. Therefore, having him once again team up with the legendary Denzel Washington (after their Training Day collaboration) back in 2014 for a movie adaptation of the 80s crime series Equalizer, was the best decision Sony Studios made. Despite being surrounded by similar movies where uber-cool, righteous killers dedicate their lives to purging not-so-dignified killers, The Equalizer series has its own meditative, calculative charm that can be hardly seen in modern-day action movies. This factor, along with grounded yet inventive action sequences and a flair for character drama, made the series a cult classic, leading to the release of a sequel in 2018 titled The Equalizer 2. The series is also notable for being the first and only movie franchise in Denzel Washington’s career where he has reprised the role of the lead character on multiple occasions.
With The Equalizer 3 releasing this weekend, let’s take a look at the series overview, characters, and what we can expect from the final part of the trilogy.
Who is Robert McCall?
The USP of The Equalizer movie series is undoubtedly the protagonist, Robert McCall, played by the ever-dependable Denzel Washington, who, duly assisted by memorable characterization, brings a balanced, contrasting effect to the role. Viewers meet Robert as a near-sixties home depot worker living in Boston—a mild-mannered gentleman with a penchant for reading. A really amicable personality who, despite not being much of a talker, is really willing to help in any way he can. That is until he is dragged back to his past self by the dregs of society or witnesses a situation going south thanks to insecure men flaunting their ineptness.
Robert’s past remains shrouded in mystery, but what we do know is that he is an ex-Marine, an ex-DIA, and a highly decorated special force officer who had taken part in several black ops. From his conversations, it is known that he had a regret-filled, violent past, which he has tried to bury ever since. A widower, Robert had promised his beloved late wife that he would never tread on the same destructive path ever again—until he eventually was forced to after getting into a problematic situation with the Russian mob. When in action, Robert delivers justice like a vengeful emissary of God—precise, relentless, cold, and ruthless—as if he gets transformed into an altogether different persona that is scarily opposite from his usual self. But the violence he metes out is not reflected in his demeanor; even while breaking bones and snapping necks, his eyes are disturbingly calm, and his demeanor composed.
Two major aspects that differentiate Robert from so-called righteous killers are the way he really stands out as people’s person. Firstly, be it assisting a neighborhood teenager to choose the right course in life, helping his junior colleague in physical training to get into a security job, or reuniting an elderly Holocaust survivor with his long-lost sister, Robert is always helping people around him. It is perhaps to make penance for a life spent shedding too much blood, as indicated by the fact that he often spends sleepless nights. The next factor that separates him from the bunch is that no matter what kind of criminal he is apprehending, he always gives them a chance to mend their ways. He might have been adept in violent ways, but he chooses violence as a last resort. Thankfully, his adversaries never get the memo, and his routine of ‘dealing with situations’ with mechanical precision follows.
The Story So Far
In The Equalizer 1, Robert befriended a teenager named Alina, a minor who was forced into prostitution by the Russian mob and later severely assaulted by Slavi, a gangster of the said mob. Robert went to Slavi to earn Alina’s freedom in exchange for money and was derisively rejected, which led him to methodically terminate Slavi and his men. The chief enforcer of the mob, Nicholai Itchenko, arrives in Boston and starts making his presence known through rampant killings.
Robert goes to meet his former DIA colleague Susan Plummer and her husband Brian, and we get to know that Robert faked his death to get a quiet life in exchange. From Susan, Robert learns about the operations of Russian mob boss Vladimir Pushkin, who is the employer of Nicholai, and also about a corrupt cop, Frank Masters, who is on the mob’s payroll. By forcing Frank to sabotage Pushkin’s operations, Robert corners Nicholai, who finally gets desperate enough to come out and hold Robert’s home depot colleagues hostage in order to flush him out. At the end, Robert manages to kill Nicholai and his henchmen and even travels to Russia to electrocute Pushkin to death. Later, Alina meets with Robert and thanks him, which inspires him to take on this urban vigilante sort of career even more seriously.
In The Equalizer 2, we find Robert continuing with his vigilante profession with intel from Susan while working as an app-cab driver. While investigating a vicious murder case involving former DIA associates, Susan gets killed during a supposed robbery situation. Later, upon close inspection, Robert finds out his former partner, Dave York, who was assisting Susan in the case, is responsible for her death. Dave confesses that he and their former DIA crew are working as mercenaries, and the former murder was committed by them as well. Robert swears revenge, and by the end of the movie, he keeps his word by killing Dave and his merc crew.
What Can Be Expected From The Final Movie?
The trailer for The Equalizer 3 showcases Robert McCall returning to exact vengeance for one last time, this time on the Italian mafia. We see Robert spending his time in Italy, perhaps on a trip for his physical and mental recovery, where he befriends a few locals. Quite obviously, the miscreants make the mistake of jeopardizing their peaceful lives, which kick-starts Robert’s murderous rampage. With this being the last entry in the saga, perhaps viewers will get a peek into his shrouded past as well.