Equilibrium (2002)

Apparently in the future, all cops will know kung-fu. Quentin Tarantino will be so happy.

Christian Bale portrays John Preston, a warrior-priest and enforcement officer in a future dystopia where both feelings and artistic expression are outlawed and citizens take daily injections of drugs to suppress their emotions. After accidentally missing a dose, Preston begins to experience emotions which make him question his own morality and moderate his actions, while attempting to remain undetected by the suspicious society in which he lives.

What you have here is a film that’s pretty much a cross with action of The Matrix mixed with the world from 1984. Should be a lot more epic than it sounds, but hey, it’s not all that bad.

The plot here is about a far future, where nobody feels anything and anybody that does or at least try to, ends up getting killed for their actions. The film hits this plot right away with right mood and takes you into this place where absolutely everything is dark and emotionless, and everybody is practically making sure the other isn’t smiling or having a happy though in their head. I was definitely feeling the mood that this film was giving off and I especially liked a lot of the stylistic touches that writer/director Kurt Wimmer had here as well. Everything looks so shiny and very futuristic but doesn’t try too hard to force its look down our throats.

But I’m just going to get past all of the bullshit, because the main reason this film works so well is because of it’s action. The film isn’t a total action-fest the whole way through, but when the action does come through, it’s freakin’ awesome and brings so much more energy to the flick than anything else did. You actually have to be more patient with this film for its action scenes because there is a long stretch where we get little, or no action scenes but they kick ass because of the Kata-like action style going on here. The hand-to-hand combat fights were probably the best because whenever Bale would rip, snap, or crack somebody’s body parts, I almost thought I could feel the same exact pain. There’s a lot of gun-play here as well where Bale pretty much blows everybody up left-and-right and there is even a really cool scene where he faces off against a dude who also has a gun, and they just continue to try and shoot each other, but they keep on missing as they keep on struggling to kill the other. Definitely a lot of fun action to be had here and probably the best part of this flick.

Problem with some of these action scenes is that they all pretty much consist of Bale kicking everybody’s ass, and never ever showing a sign of danger that he may die. I get that the story is all about him being the big dog and can pretty much do no wrong when it comes to fighting and using his skills, but seriously, this guy takes on about 30 dudes at once with just two pistols where they all have assault rifles shooting at him. I mean come on, Patrick Bateman couldn’t even pull that off! It seemed like the film just made him an indestructible force that never lost or got hurt, and therefore, no real danger of loss ever came to this story. It was just me waiting to see when Bale was going to take down a whole army by himself.

I also didn’t really understand the future this film had created, even though they definitely went through its details enough. One of the main elements about this future that I already named were how they can’t feel anything. No emotions. Nada. So what really got me wondering was how the hell are kids made, when the two people who have to make the kids aren’t allowed to feel anything in the first place. I mean, two people have to be horny and ready for action when it comes to making a baby so how can they do such a thing, when they have to worry about being killed for doing so? I know this is a very weird thought that went through my head but it’s just one that kept me thinking more and more as Bale kept on hanging around his kids. Didn’t understand that part and there were plenty of other times where I would someone give off a smile or a sign of anger and it made me think: where’s all of the punishment for all of these feelings?

The real reason this film actually does work as well it does is mainly because of Christian Bale as John Preston. We all know that Bale is a great actor and can pretty much do it all, but this is the one flick where he shows that he can actually handle an action hero role very well. His performance goes from starting out as an emotionless prick, to showing signs of sadness, rage, and joy. The guys transformation makes this story a lot more meaningful in the end and the action scenes make his character more of a bad-ass than ever. What I’m saying here may not make it seem like Bale is all that important in this flick, but he definitely lifts this material up which it needed in the first place.

Taye Diggs holds his own as Preston’s partner Brandt, a guy who you can never tell what he’s going to do next and the scenes where him and Bale face-off, are pretty awesome as well; Emily Watson has some choice moments as Mary and shows a lot more emotion than the boys here; and Sean Bean has a pretty solid cameo appearance, that made me wish I saw more of him in the end. However, some Sean Bean is better than no Sean Bean.

Consensus: Equilibrium may not be the smartest sci-fi flick, and definitely not the most original, but it features a lot of super-hyper action sequences, good performances from the cast, and a pretty dark look at a future where nobody can feel anything.



  1. A fun flick for sure with some badass action.Bale is a big reason why it’s easy to get into the movie even though it slightly rips off The Matrix. It’s entertaining to see him in roles like this before his breakout one in Batman Begins. I agree that his character is too invincible though. Films can be much less exciting when you’re not afraid for the hero.

  2. I had SO many problems with this film. Your one about the making babies thing being one of them. Also, if the people of the world have no emotion, surely they wouldn’t care enough to stay alive and etc etc…? So many problems! I didn’t even think the action sequences were that worth it. I remember when the film was first released they were really bigging up their “Gun-Kata” which they invented for the film. Martial arts with guns or some such nonsense. I found some of the action sequences to be a bit unintentionally funny, especially the one with the dudes in biker helmets.

    This film was a running joke at my old work place between me and my boss. Still is! Good times.

    • Some of it’s pretty laughable, but other times, it’s pretty entertaining. Still, though, that world makes no sense. What’s the running joke about it if you don’t mind me asking?

  3. I liked this movie quite a bit, especially the “gun fu” sequences with the hand to hand gun combat. Good call on the “Matrix meets 1984” comparison. It also has flavors of Fahrenheit 451.

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