Is Equilibrium Sci-Fi or Action? I think a case can be made for both. Maybe not a good one, but a case nevertheless and the difference is what draws me to it. I’ve never been a fan of Sci-Fi movies, but in this, like something similar to the Matrix and even Predator (excluding Alien because I never got into it….but I didn’t mind District 9, so maybe I just don’t like movies in space….)
Anyways, the main premise of the movie is Christian Bale’s character, John Preston, being the best at what he does (a Grammaton Cleric-aka government agent-that tracks down people who feel and destroys pieces of history). His partner Partridge, played by Sean Bean (who got to have an English accent, but Bale didn’t, which just seems strange) subtly shows him another side of existence, a side that they are tasked with erasing from public record. We are then taken day by day through John’s life where he slowly starts a self instituted conversion which finds a climax in a battle between Preston and everything he used to represent.
I’m British, you’re British, Father is British, even freaking Dupont is British, yet I’m the only one who has to drop the accent, what the f**k?!
To the action. I have a music video somewhere in my archives of the first scene where John Preston storms through the door and annihilates the guns in the dark set to Rob Zombie’s Dragula. Yes, it starts off that badass. And yes, that was Dominick Purcell you saw looking out the window. There aren’t many action sequences, but the few of them get longer and longer and each hold a purpose-like the end of a chapter really. They even have a stylized form of fighting that seems to combine martial arts with gun fights. As the movie basically said, “we studied fights of all kinds to see the common moves and this counters and avoids all of them while putting you in position to be as lethal as possible”.
While the action is awesome this movie is really telling John’s story for three-quarters of each section and escalates until John is basically a one man army. This factor alone will have people drooling, and his near spotless white uniform at the end of everything doesn’t hurt either.
Wait, there’s a story? Yes! A lot of times you will see a movie loved or hated by different circles because of the balance of story and action (ex: The Expendables). In my mind, too much story is injected into a movie that revolves around Christian Bale shooting everyone. The increased presence of a story, though, allows us to see the day to day struggles Preston faces as he starts “waking up”. The struggles highlighted even more with the President character’s voice over going over laws and fundamentals. So it’s really a movie about a man’s struggle with his own thoughts and the repression of everything he has stood for thus far. At least that’s what you can tell your girl when you try to get her to watch it: mention the puppies too, that should sell it.
See? Toldja, puppies.
It’s an action movie that actually has a story. The problem is that it is an action movie first, so it will put off anyone that doesn’t like that. And while not as good as the likes of Die Hard, Salt, The A-Team, etc. you will find yourself coming back to watch it.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time Bale kills at least four people at once
Take a drink: every time Father has a voice over
Take a shot: every someone says or commits a “sense offense”