Odder things have happened, but it is a mystery as to why Dimension Films decided to release Equilibrium in limited theaters with very little marketing. After all, it is one of the best action movies in years.
Equilibrium is a sci-fi action movie with a surprisingly star-studded cast. Christian Bale, Yae Diggs, Angus MacFadyen (known from Braveheart, primarily), Emily Watson and Sean Bean are the most recognizable faces, though it is hardly the cast that makes Equilibrium so stunning. The movie is filled with exciting and stylized action scenes that offer up huge death counts and lots of cool choreography - not all of it believable, but cool nonetheless. Again, why didn't this movie get a wide release?
The movie takes place in the semi-near future, after a third world war ravaged the Earth. Fearing another war, most humans adopted a drug called Librium to suppress their emotions, thus diminishing any chances of hatred, violence, and of course, love, which leads to jealousy. It is your typical Big Brother society, as seen in many sci-fi movies, and there isn't anything exceptionally original about the setting in Equilibrium, but its really a means to an end. Of course, as with any of these movies that grapple with the argument of security versus freedom, there is a resistance of free humans. And when there is a resistance, there is fighting.
While the acting and dialogue is good, the action obviously steals the show. Director Kurt Wimmer holds nothing back, presenting cool and intense action scenes that at times take down fifty men in a matter of minutes. As with any action movie, some scenes are a little overdone, but it is acceptable; for the most part, the stylized portions of the fighting play out incredibly well. I was impressed with the choreography, especially between Bale and Diggs.
Equilibrium really has very few flaws. The graphics are a little lackluster at times, but pretty good considering that this movie was probably made on a rather tight budget. A few dialogue weaknesses show up here and there, but the good cast hides any major discrepancies.
I didn't know what to expect from Equilibrium, but I wasn't expecting a compelling and exciting action movie. The very fact that it was released in limited theaters suggested that it was somehow inferior, but the only disappointing part of the film is the knowledge that it could have done a whole lot better. In many ways, it is comparable to The Matrix, and that can only be taken as a compliment.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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