By: John M Jerva

Christian Bale is one of those actors that really immerses himself into his roles. The star who is best known for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy has also been in the news for unflattering reasons but there is no denying that the man can act. Bale also holds a special place in genre fans’ hearts for his portrayl of seriel killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho which is regarded as a cult classic of horror movie making. Maybe you remember him from a little film called Terminator: Salvation which was not received well to say the least. In his career, Bale has made an impression that will live on well after he has left this Earth.

I’m here to talk about my favorite Christian Bale flick and no it isn’t one of the Batman flicks. I do love Reign Of Fire though which he co-starred with Matthew McConaughy in the glorious tale of a future world ruled by dragons. That movie just kicks ass in my eyes but that’s not my favorite by a long shot.

There is a lesser known movie that came out in 2002 called Equilibrium which is a post apocalyptic tale where war has ravaged the world and in order to implement control, a ruthless regime has forced a law where emotions are banned and feeling is punishable by death. All forms of feeling i.e. books, art and music have been banned and if one is caught with the contraband, they are eliminated with extreme prejudice. In order to quall emotions, each citizen is forced to take special pills or doses called Prozium that turn them into unfeeling robots who live life in the darkest of clouds. Sounds like a fun time, huh?

In order to keep the control, the regime has implemented an elite police force called the Grammaton Cleric who are expertly trained in a new form of combat which infuses guns with martial arts moves. The Clerics are bad ass and they always get their man as they roam the city for renegades who are trying to revert back to the way things were.

One of the most deadly of Clerics is John Preston (Bale) who has made it his life to destroy those who break the law. Preston even turned his own wife in when it was discovered that she was feeling again and thus breaking the law. Preston’s partner played by the great Sean Bean even meets his demise at the hands of Preston when he too is discovered to have been feeling.

By chance and by accident, Preston misses a dose one day and from there on he begins to feel and discover all that he had been missing while on the medication. It becomes harder and harder to fake it as with each new experience, Preston finds out that life tuly is wonderfull. Unfortunately, he has a new partner in Brandt played by Taye Diggs who is skepical of John to say the least and makes it his mission to eat him out and expose him.

As time starts to run out, Preston with the help of underground rebels, devices a plan to bring the dictatorship down and start a new revolution where pleople can make their own judgements and feel once again.

Equilibrium was directed by Kurt Wimmer, who has also directed the great B action movie One Man’s Justice with Brian Bosworth as well as Ultraviolet with Milla Jovovich. Wimmer makes the most out of a limited budget and even though he wasn’t able to do all the things he wanted with the action sequences, he truly crafts a kick ass film where the term “Gun Fu” or “Gun Kata” is really taken to new heights. For those of you in the dark, “Gun Fu” is a fictional style of combat where guns are used in a sophisticated close quarters approach and blended with martial arts moves to form a deadly and awesome looking design of combat that really has to be seen to be believed.

The film is loaded with spectacular fight sequences and Bale really shines in the physical aspects of the role where he gets to get his Matrix on and annihilate the opposition with firece and brutal calculation. The first time I saw the film, I was immediately blown away by the action set pieces and became an instant fan of this type of fighting as it was genuinely original and unlike anything seen before. The fist time you see Preston use these skills, it is action movie making at its finest.

Quick foot note: It is stated that Preston kills exactly half of the people in the film. He takes out 118 people where the total was 236 so he holds the third place record for most deaths in a movie caused by one character. Now that’s impressive on any level.

The focus of this Action Fix is the film’s finale, where Preston makes his final assault on the regime and displays all the deadly and jaw dropping skills that he has learned in one fierce firefight. He takes all the emotions that he has been feeling as of late and transforms them one more time into a controlled state of chaos where he unleashes his lethal art. Thousands of rounds are spent during the scene and the ending culminates with a one on one “Gun Fu” matchup with the film’s main villain Dupont played by great character actor Angus Macfadyen where both men get their “Gun Fu” on. I had read where Wimmer said that he wanted to do bigger and better things with this scene but budget and time restrictions made it impossible. The scene still stands out though for what they were able to accomplish.

The movie is still a great watch to this day and it is a cult classic of epic action proportions. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t a hit when released which is a shame because I would have loved to have seen more of Preston and this form of combat. Wimmer would bring the “Gun Fu” back, however, in Ultraviolet with Jovovich but that film, while enjoyable, couldn’t top Equlibrium in my eyes.

If you haven’t seen Equilibrium yet, search it out as you won’t be disappointed and the film is a trailblazer for the time it came out when the 80’s and 90’s were over and audiences were looking for something new to satisfy their action cravings. This movie really is in a league of its own.

Check out the explosive finale below as it is this week’s Action Fix! “No…not without incident.”

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