What you need to know before watching The Equalizer 3

Watch out bad guys, Denzel’s back

Denzel Washington returns in The Equalizer 3. (Alamy)
Denzel Washington returns in The Equalizer 3. (Alamy)

Five years after he last kicked a few heads in, Denzel Washington reprises his role as former DIA agent and all-around hard guy, Robert McCall, for The Equalizer 3.

Inspired by the 1980s TV show of the same name, this fight-heavy franchise fits neatly into the unstoppable vigilante sub-section of the action genre that has given us recent hits like the John Wick series. It also sees Washington re-team with Antoine Fuqua, the filmmaker who has directed him in films like Training Day and The Magnificent Seven.

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It’s a franchise that has spanned almost a decade, having started back in 2014, with a third installment fighting its way onto Sky Cinema this week.

With more action heading our way, perhaps now is a good time to refresh your memory on everything that’s happened to Washington’s reluctant hero so far. Ready? Let’s jump in…

Denzel Washinton just wants a quiet life in The Equalizer. (Alamy)
Denzel Washinton just wants a quiet life in The Equalizer. (Alamy)

Released in 2014, Fuqua’s first movie introduced us to Robert McCall, a seemingly inconspicuous hardware store clerk with a mysteriously dark past.

Played by Washington, McCall seems determined to try his best to live a quiet life in Boston despite juggling the haunting events of a previous life that leave him awake at night and regularly visiting diners.

Unfortunately, his peace is broken when a young prostitute named Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) that he's befriended during late-night diner visits is attacked and badly beaten by members of the Russian Mafia.

Shocked and angered, McCall is determined to deliver vengeance, tracking down and targeting Teri’s attackers and revealing his skills as a presumed-dead highly-trained member of the American armed forces and intelligence community in the process.

While justice was served, McCall soon discovers that by killing the men who attacked Teri he has kicked a hornet’s nest that goes right to the top of an extensive Russian mafia syndicate.

Pretty soon, violent oligarch Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) sends enforcers to track down and kill McCall but the former defence intelligence operative doesn’t make it easy for them.

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse between Pushkin’s lackey Nicolai (Marton Csokas) and McCall as the former tries to kill their new attacker and the latter takes down the crime outfit's many money laundering revenues.

Eventually, things come to a head when McCall finally confronts head honcho Pushkin and restores peace to Teri’s life and the lives of his small-town Boston friends.

Pedro Pascal joined Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 2. (Alamy)
Pedro Pascal joined Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 2. (Alamy)

Having advertised his services as a rogue law enforcer — or Equalizer — at the end of part one, Fuqua and Washinton’s second Equalizer outing finds McCall making good on his return to vigilante work.

After a trip to Istanbul to help track down the kidnapped daughter of a Boston local, McCall soon gets embroiled in a new case that brings him back into contact with his old DIA colleagues.

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When an old work friend is murdered under suspicious circumstances, McCall attempts to find out who is behind the killing and in turn, discovers a friendly face working as a double-agent mercenary that he must hunt down and stop.

Doubling down on the elaborate action sequences that were frequently timed by McCall’s stopwatch in the first movie, The Equalizer 2 introduces us to more faces from the character’s past, including his former partner Dave York, played by Pedro Pascal.

Like any good vigilante action epic, McCall’s second outing ups the ante considerably, while keeping audiences guessing as to who to trust and who might be behind the killings and why.

By the time the sequel wraps up, McCall is able to return to the quiet neighbourhood life that he so desperately yearned for back when we first met him in 2014.

However, like any good action hero, he remains poised to strike once more if needed which, as it turns out, he is in The Equalizer 3.

The Equalizer 3 will be released on Sky Cinema on Friday, 3 May