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'The Equalizer 3' appeases loyal fanbase, but falls victim to franchise fatigue

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The Equalizer franchise has a unique theme among action films: complex and morally-driven vigilantism, suspenseful storytelling, social justice themes, and of course一amazing screen presence of Denzel Washington. He has been the action star of this franchise despite being 68 and even rivalling the likes of Keanu Reeves, Liam Neeson, and many others. 

The third instalment of The Equalizer marks Denzel's first-ever trilogy in his illustrious career, and fans rejoiced as he embarked on a new vigilante mission in the picturesque setting of Italy. The burning question: does this film maintain the momentum of its predecessors?

Denzel Washington reprises his role of vigilante Robert McCall, who is always embroiled in his fight against evil and protects vulnerable people. In this film, he pursues a vendetta against an Italian drug lord in his territory. 

He brutally kills every henchman and faces the crime boss in his Equalizer style but gets seriously injured in the altercation. He is rescued by local policeman Gio and doctor Enzo, who take him to Altamonte, a small coastal town in Southern Italy, to rehabilitate.

Yet, villains have a knack for finding Robert McCall, and this time is no exception. As he begins to savour an unexpected retirement by mingling with the local community, his solitary existence is disrupted by the menacing Camorra mafia. This criminal syndicate plagues Altamonte with extortion, extrajudicial killings, and wanton vandalism. 

Robert previously confronted Russian gangsters and American mercenaries, but the Italian mafia represents a formidable addition to his rogues' gallery.

Still, Robert doesn't jump into action; he just wants to enjoy his retirement. When the mafia members kill someone he cares for, he is forced to exact vengeance on them. He doesn't warn them; he prepares them for the impending doom he is about to bring. 

How are they going to be executed? The answer in Antoine Fuqua action films is quite simple: violent and visceral.

Dakota Fanning, as CIA analyst Emma Collins, is newly introduced in this film. She and Robert help each other to take down the Altamonte drug trade and the mafia behind it. She even gets into near-death situations as she crosses paths with them, but Robert rescues her every time. The constant involvement of Emma in this film indicates that she will be stepping into Robert McCall's role as the new equaliser in future projects.

The action scenes were too violent and tried too hard to be of John Wick's standard. Director Fuqua was criticised for using the previous film's strategy in a new setting. 

Despite Denzel Washington's charisma and formidable acting prowess, it's evident that franchise fatigue has set in. The appeal has somewhat reduced, as Fuqua prioritises action over emotional depth and storytelling, resulting in a less sophisticated plot. 

Much like its predecessor, this sequel may disappoint fans, but Denzel's presence remains the film's saving grace.

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