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Review Equilibrium (2002): Not deserving of it's praise!

genre: action, drama, science fiction

In my never ending search for heroic bloodshed / gun fu / bullet ballet titles Equilibrium also gets mentioned. It's not that surprising considering the Gun Kata that is featured in the film. This gun fu style was invented by writer / director Kurt Wimmer himself. 

It's therefore pretty surprising how little of this gun kata you get to enjoy. It also really doesn't make much sense why that style is a thing. Sure it looks cool and all but that's about it. The action scenes are over before you know it. I don't think Kurt Wimmer has a good understanding of creating real tension and exciting action scenes. If I didn't know any better Equilibrium is nothing but a poor attempt into making another sci fi masterpiece in the same vein as The Matrix using 1984 as it's foundation and something slightly different from the Hong Kong style inspired action. I am not even opposed to the idea if Kurt had been able to add some real depth and drama. So for some reason people having emotions is what could lead to chaos and destruction. Naturally happy but docile people wouldn't revolt that quickly. But am I supposed to believe that an injection of some substance can truly surpress emotions? I know it's science fiction. But as demonstrated it's very easy to not inject yourself and allow yourself to feel. Surely the resistance would have been larger. I think the film should have shown the repercussions of suppressing emotions and why this kind of control is inherently evil. Also the concept of The Matrix is truly horrifying. Almost everything even the style has a function and purpose. It's obvious that once freed the people have a form of freedom they don't have in the simulation that is designed for them by the machines. In Equilibrium it's just a stylish look for the sake of it. Incredibly superficial. 

I remember watching this film mostly because of the cool action that was promised. But even back then when I was a little less critical I simply could not convince myself I actually liked it. At the time I found it to be overly pretentious and boring. It has taken me many years before I could motivate myself into watching this film. And the viewing experience was exactly like I expected. A total disappointment. Mind you while I do think the plot should and could have been better that is not what bothered me the most. No, it was the lack of exciting action. Yes, it's stylish. But not once do you feel a sense of danger. I mean in most action films are almost invincible. They kinda have to be. However most of the time those films do point out and emphasize that the danger is real. As much as I admire Christian Bale's commitment to his role him not getting hurt one bit is incredibly boring. 

Overall Equilibrium is simply lacking in everything that could have made it stand out and be truly compelling. Not worth your time!

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