Every Equalizer Movie Ranked

Based on the 1980s TV series of the same name, "The Equalizer" trilogy sees Denzel Washington playing a killing machine. Washington is Robert McCall, a former Marine and ex-Defense Intelligence Agency agent who would really like to be left alone. Unfortunately, scumbags and other villains frequently cross his path, which means McCall is often getting back into action and killing a lot of people. 

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the "Equalizer" trilogy is ultra-violent and action-packed. It's also surprisingly solid. These aren't great movies, but like Robert McCall, they get the job done in swift, brutal fashion. "The Equalizer 3" feels like an ending of sorts for Robert McCall, which makes for a sturdy trilogy. But how does the trilogy stack up as a whole? Which is the best entry? Which is the worst? 

Let's find out by ranking "The Equalizer" movies!

3. The Equalizer

Usually, the first film in a trilogy will often be the best. Not so with "The Equalizer"! The first film is actually the weakest, although it's not without its charms. This entry has Robert McCall working at a Home Depot-type store, minding his own business. But when he befriends a young sex worker (Chloë Grace Moretz) being trafficked by the Russian mafia, Robert decides to kick some ass and take some names. This is your standard "one man army"-style action-thriller, and while the ending, which sees Robert turn his hardware store into a "Home Alone"–style death trap, delivers, the rest of the film is a touch unengaging. Washington is worth watching, as usual, but this is the least entertaining film in the trilogy. Watch it only to be a completist and then move on to the superior sequels. 

2. The Equalizer 3

Now we're talking. Ultra-violent and set in the picturesque Italian seaside, "The Equalizer 3" is a fine finish to the trilogy. Here, Robert McCall gets badly injured, only to be nursed back to health in a village on the Amalfi Coast. Once he recovers from his wounds, Robert decides to stick around and grows close with the locals. But trouble rears its ugly head in the form of the Mafia, which threatens the people Robert has come to care about. What's a killing machine to do? Kill everyone he can, of course! At one point in this movie, Washington's character jams a gun through a man's skull and then fires it at someone else. Yeah, it's that kind of movie. If they decide to make a fourth "Equalizer" film I'll be there, but I kind of hope this is the end of the journey because it wraps things up nicely. 

1. The Equalizer 2

Easily the best movie in the trilogy, "The Equalizer 2" is essentially a slasher movie told from the point of view of the slasher. And oh yeah, the slasher is played by Denzel Washington. The film has McCall going up against a group of goons who killed one of his friends — big mistake! Blood flows freely in this film, especially during a big climax set in an abandoned town during a hurricane. There's a distinct pleasure in watching Washington dispatch a bunch of bad guys in gruesome, unflinching fashion. The first film feels tame and rather boring when held up against this sequel. If you were put off by that first film and never bothered to continue with the franchise, I urge you to give "The Equalizer 2" a watch, because there's a very good chance it'll make you a fan of the series as a whole.