Equilibrium (2002)


If I Was Gonna Shoot You, I’d Shoot You in the Face

Nothing really inspired me to watch today’s movie. I decided it was based mainly on the fact that I need to do something to prep myself for the release of Dark Knight Rises. Since there are only two Batman movies with Christian Bale, I decided I could fill the time in between with other Christian Bale movies. But that’s a flimsy premise, as I decided it after I started watching this. In truth, I just wanted to watch it. I have no idea how I originally came to see this movie, but once I had, I liked it enough to get it on DVD. Since then, I have decided at random to watch it probably a dozen times. That may spoil my review of the film, but I don’t care. This movie is Equilibrium, written and directed by Kurt Wimmer, and stars Christian Bale, Sean Pertwee, Angus Macfadyen, William Fichtner, Taye Diggs, Emily Watson, Sean Bean, Matthew Harbour, and Emily Siewert.

We’re in the future and, as we have seen many times in the past, we did not age as a fine wine. Shit went bad. There was a WW3 and, instead of leading to a bunch of really good movies and really good video games as it’s predecessor did, it lead to people deciding we needed to kill emotions so people wouldn’t get in fights and kill folks. That also isn’t going well, but people seem to like it or, more likely, feel nothing about it. They’re all on a drug that stops everyone from feeling, but there are people that decide to go off their meds and start feeling up the joint. That’s where the Tetragrammaton comes in, acting under the rule of the “Father” (Sean Pertwee). They go in, do a lot of fancy shooting, and burn the artwork and stuff that they’ve collected so that no one will be inspired to feel. This is where we join in. We follow a high ranking Grammaton Cleric named John Preston (Christian Bale). After a raid, he finds out his partner, Errol Partridge (Sean Bean), is off his meds and feeling. He finds him reading poems by Yeats and shoots him in the face. Shortly after, he accidentally knocks over his dose of Prozium and decides to not take it anymore, causing him to start feeling. He and his new partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs), raid the house of Mary O’Brien (Emily Watson), and Preston starts feeling for her. Trouble begins to amp up for Preston as his feelings start getting in the way of his job and he has to make some decisions that may change society as a whole.

I really like this movie, though it is somewhat less awesome with as many times as I’ve seen the movie. The story is interesting, but we’ve seen versions of it before. It’s a pretty regulation dystopian future/government control story, similar to Aeon Flux. The whole lack of emotions thing raised some interesting questions for me, and probably most people. Would it be better to have no emotions, but also no negative emotions and all the things that go along with that (wars, murders, etc.)? The movie didn’t make sense in that the people that were saying how emotion stopped people from killing each other would go out and kill people that were feeling, but if there weren’t the killings it would probably be a pretty boring movie. If they just said “We’ll stay here, you go feel out there somewhere and we can just ignore each other”, then what would we be watching? The real reason to see this movie is the fighting. This movie is probably one of the most innovative uses of guns I’ve seen since the Matrix movies. They were the ones that brought slo-mo to the mainstream, but this one brings in something I called “Gun Fu”, but they called “Gun Kata”, but we’ll stick with Gun Fu because puns are more funs. The whole Gun Fu thing in the movie was supposedly based on the strategic directions you could shoot in to maximize kills and minimize the amount of time you put yourself in the typical crossfire trajectory. It ends up looking like a Kung Fu fight with guns, thus the name I gave it. The use of guns in this movie is worth the watch alone. They also have some hand to hand combat (or, since it is using the butt of the gun, gun to face combat). These parts didn’t work as well and looked more like Christian Bale flailing his guns at surrounding attackers like a couple of drunk girls fighting in a club, when he was CLEARLY my man from the start, Shaniqua! Hold my earrings, gurl! … Sorry. But Shaniqua is a bitch, am I right? They also throw in some sword combat near the end, and it’s pretty good. It made me wonder how they were able to choreograph stuff that was brand new like the Gun Fu fighting, but not that interested in the tried and true types of combat.

It’s hard to judge the performances in this movie. The movie called for the greater majority of the cast to perform in almost robotic, emotionless ways, which would normally be a really poor job in the acting department. It works fairly well here, though. Christian Bale does a good job, starting off really cold and emotionless, but slowly getting those emotions in there, and having to try to hide them as well. It did strike me as weird that Bale was supposed to be the top Cleric, but he lived with three people (his wife and two kids) who were feeling the whole time, but he never had any idea. That makes him a pretty shitty Cleric. Taye Diggs’ performance kind of bothered me because he’s all career-minded and wants to overtake Bale by any means, but seemed like he might have been feeling the entire time. He may have just been a douche bag, so I don’t know if that counted as an emotion. I thought Sean Bean’s performance was really good as well, though he wasn’t in it very long. Angus Macfadyen makes a pretty good bad guy as well. Everyone else was kind of nondescript as the movie called for that. There was this dog in the movie that gave a great performance as a super cute dog. It was like it really WAS a super cute dog! But it also got like 10 people killed by barking from Christian Bale’s trunk. But I forgive you because you’re adorable. Also, there was this group of Resistance fighters that got on my nerves. Christian Bale tried to tell them to escape when the Tetragrammaton was invading their hideout, but they wouldn’t run like he was telling them to because he would shoot them in the back. It got on my nerves (for reasons that Bale even said in the movie) because he could just as easily shoot them all in the face, were he so inclined. They got killed, and they deserved it for being dumbasses.

I really like this movie, but it gets a little stale on the 10th viewing. The story is stuff that we’ve seen before, but still pretty interesting. The real reason to watch this movie is the awesome fight scenes, mainly the Gun Fu, but also some decent sword fighting. The performances are a little robotic, but that’s what the movie calls for so it’s okay. Bale still puts on a really good performance. And he’s Batman, so respect! I bought this movie on DVD, and I recommend you guys at least rent it and give it a watch, especially if you like guns and action. If you liked the Matrix, this is pretty similar to that, but great in it’s own way. Equilibrium gets “I pay it gladly” out of “You’re treading on my dreams.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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