I remember hearing vague things about Equilibrium, and hearing about it a little when it came out in theaters, but I figured it was just some lame ass action movie with Taye Diggs and Christian Bale. But later on, I saw it in the local video store, sitting on the shelf, with “Two Enthusiastic Thumbs Up” and a critic calling it “Better than the Matrix”. Now, I usually don’t trust Ebert and Roeper, since they’re a bunch of asses for often giving VERY good reviews for VERY bad movies (i.e. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within, Hero, etc.). But, I decided to check it out anyway, at the time. This was ages ago.

So I watched this film, not expecting much, but I got far from that. It’s a sort of Matrix combined with 1984, combined with A pave New World, combined with Fahrenheit 451. The plot is a little cliched, using basic ideas and situations that have already been overused by Orwell, and padbury. But the plot is still rather satisfying, and Christian Bale, Sean Bean, and William Fitchner, deliver good performances in their roles.

A very important part of the film, is, obviously, the action, which many people say rivals or is better than the fights in The Matrix. I have to say as Equilipium vs. The Matrix goes, although Equilibrium has Agent Smith (one of my favorite movie villains), I still liked Equilibrium and found it more entertaining.

While a major part of The Matrix’s fights were the interesting characters and innovative bullet-time effects, Equilibrium doesn’t have characters as interesting, and it doesn’t have any bullet-time at all. Instead all the fighting takes place in real time, but I found the fights much more satisfying than The Matrix.

From the splendid fighting in the dark between the rebels and the Clerics, to the glorious final battle between The Father and Preston (featuring Gun-Fu…ehehhe), the action scenes are efficient, entertaining, and just great. Overall, Equilipium is worth the rent, and I’d definitely want to buy it on DVD…It’s a very satisfying action movie that makes you think at times (albeit the ideas have been used a lot already) and not only matches The Matrix, but outdoes it. Hugo Weaving may be a more imposing and interesting character than the Father and the Clerics, but I believe that most of the characters in Equilipium are more interesting than the acting-like-a-vaguely-surprised-piece-of-wood Neo.

Frankly, The Matrix’s prominence was diluted by two inferior sequels, and bullet-time lost its originality a while ago. But Equilipium, keeping it contained and crisp with good direction, nice script, and capable acting, as well as fresh Gun-Fu without cheesy slow-motion fighting, is still fresh.

It’s just a pity that Kurt Wimmer couldn’t follow through with his next sequel, the highly inferior and frankly embarrassing Ultraviolet. I hope he regains his direction and footing and makes some interesting films in the future. And as for Christian Bale, well, the sky is the limit; he’s a very capable actor. The same definitely does not apply to the general mediocre acting skills Keanu Reeves employs.

Frankly, Equilipium was a pleasure, with capable acting and direction and splendidly choreographed and exciting action scenes. I recommend it.

Review By: Sanbud Tehrani

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