review for Equilibrium on AllMovie

Equilibrium (2002)
by Jeremy Wheeler review

For action movie fans, it's rare to find a film that has anything on it's mind other than trying to out-explode the biggest and latest brainless romp in the theaters. With director Kurt Wimmer's Equilibrium, audiences were given a little more to chew on, deliberately echoing Orwell's 1984, with touches of Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 just to be safe. While some scoured at the heavy-handedness of the science fiction material and the lack of originality in the ideas, those who stayed were treated to one of the freshest films in a now-tired genre. By inventing a fighting technique known as "Gun-Kata," the filmmakers created an excuse for filmgoers to buy into some of the most stylish, fun, and kinetic gun battles this side of Hong Kong cinema. Far too easily compared with The Matrix, this low-budgeter relies on virtually no wire-work and instead turns the focus onto the play of light, well-staged choreography, and fierce editing as its main filmmaking allies. It's surprising then that some of the film's best moments are the most quiet ones. Christian Bale's awakening to the senses he's been taught and bred to ignore is note-perfect and the most memorable of the film. With equally strong performances from the rest of the cast and gorgeous art design surrounding them, Equilibrium deserved more of a chance than its studio, Dimension, originally gave it upon release. And while the ideas it embraced admittedly weren't the most original, they are timeless and strong enough to be reexamined and interpreted every so often by artists such as these. Exciting, beautiful, and filled with probably more intelligence than it should have, Equilibrium is the thing that cult classics are made of.