Movies & TV / Columns

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Equalizer 2000

April 24, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Equalizer 2000

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #552: Equalizer 2000

Post-Apocalyptic April: Week 4

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never wanted to own a doomsday weapon because, outside of the moral implications, it sounds like a real pain in the ass (where the hell am I going to keep it? Am I going to have to build a shed for it or something? Where the hell am I going to get a shed? See what I mean? This whole thing sounds way too complicated for its own good), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and fifty-two, Post-Apocalyptic April continues with Equalizer 2000, which hit home video in the United States in May of 1987.

Equalizer 2000


Equalizer 2000, directed by the now late but always great Cirio H. Santiago, is one of the blandest post-apocalyptic movies of the 1980’s. It has all of the necessary pieces to be good and cool and whatnot, but for whatever reason it just doesn’t fit together all that well. It could be that the story is ridiculous and the big hooha focus of the story, a killer badass machine gun that is supposed to tip the balance of power to whomever possesses it, doesn’t come off as all that important or impressive. I mean, the Equalizer 2000 mega machine gun is cool, but is it cool enough to be the focus of an entire movie? Eh.

Equalizer 2000 stars Richard Norton as Slade, a badass member of The Ownership, the ruthless organization that intends to rule what’s left of the world, or at least what’s left of Alaska. See, there was a nuclear war one hundred years ago, the world became a giant shithole, and Alaska turned into a kind of desert/half-assed forest (the movie was made in the Philippines). Slade is sort of a reluctant member of The Ownership; he’s a part of it, yes, but he doesn’t really believe in the group’s goals. One day, in the middle of a gun battle with one of the many rebel groups that operate outside of The Ownership (there’s one that wears military fatigues, there’s one that sort of resembles a “typical” post-apocalyptic group where everyone in it dresses differently, and there’s a “Native” group where everyone looks like an Indian), Slade decides to quit The Ownership and go out on his own. This pisses off The Ownership once they find out, especially the sort of field commander Lawton (William Steis), and the group sends people after him.

Now, in the midst of all that, Slade ends up saving/hooking up with Karen (Corinne Wahl), a member of the rebel group run by Dixon (Rex Cutter) after she is attacked by Deke (the T-1000 hisself Robert Patrick in his first movie) and his gang of scumbags. When Karen sort of presents Slade to Dixon’s group they arrest him because they don’t trust him/don’t know what his deal is. So some stuff happens, Dixon’s group eventually decides to trust Slade, and Slade is now a part of that rebel group. And Slade starts hanging out with Karen and finds out that this group has a gunsmith that’s creating the Equalizer 2000, a mega machine gun that also has grenade launchers and shit on it. It’s a gun that will, hopefully, change the way the world works. The Ownership is awful, and no one wants them to rule everything.

So then some more stuff happens, Deke’s gang is absorbed into The Ownership, and the various rebel outfits try to band together in order to fight off The Ownership. The various groups can’t decide on how to do any of that, so it doesn’t happen. And while all of that is going on, Lawton is still looking for Slade. Where the hell did he go?

So then there are some action scenes, some gun battles, a bunch of people die, and Slade grabs the Equalizer 2000 and starts blowing shit up. When Lawton sees the Equalizer 2000 in action he decides that he must have it. There are several more action scenes and gun battles, Lawton ends up obtaining the Equalizer 2000, and then Slade has to find a way to get it back. And that, basically, is the plot to Equalizer 2000.

It really isn’t as cool as I’ve made it sound. Equalizer 2000 isn’t bad but, as I said, it just doesn’t come together as well it should/wants to. Even with all of the explosions and gun battles and whatnot there’s a real lack of urgency to everything. The movie does start with a bang, but it takes way too long for the audience to get the necessary information to know what’s going on, and by the time the audience does know it’s too late. The only thing we’re sure of is that stuff is going to happen and we’re going to have to decide if any of it matters. Some people in the audience may decide everything matters, and some may decide they’re too confused to figure out what the hell is going on and just wait for it to be over. Had the movie featured an opening crawl/extended voice over explaining who everyone was, maybe the movie would have been more successful, or it would have at least set itself up for possible success. The opening narration that we do get vaguely explains the nuclear war, how the movie takes place 100 years in the future, who The Ownership is, and that they’re into oil. But who are all of these rebel groups? And why is oil important? Does anyone else have oil?

Now, at least one of the rebel groups, the military fatigue one, has access to water, and based on the conversations that we hear amongst the groups, they all sort of trade amongst themselves, including the Ownership. So why the hell are they all fighting now? Why is it necessary now for The Ownership to own it all?

And then there’s Slade. Why is he a part of The Ownership at all? He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would be a part of a group, at least willingly. Was he forced to be a part of it at some point in his past and, at the beginning of the movie, decided that was the moment he needed to break free and go out on his own? I think there’s some sort of animosity between Slade and Lawton but I’m not entirely sure about that. Perhaps more time should have spent on this part of the movie because the story is really, truly lacking.

As for the Equalizer 2000 gun, it’s cool but it isn’t as impressive as the movie wants us to believe it is. Had there been an army of people using Equalizer 2000 guns that would be impressive as fuck. But just one gun? Why not just have Slade be the badass loner of the wastelands, the guy with the cool car and the cool as fuck gun, and have The Ownership and the other rebel groups vying for his participation? Why isn’t Slade the Equalizer 2000 as opposed to the gun? Wouldn’t that have been a better hook to hang the story on?

Yes, I think it would have been. And my plot would have worked quite well with the “if we’re going to remake the world after the nuclear apocalypse perhaps we should strive to end all of the violence” message that seems to be the whole point of the movie. It certainly would have made more sense. It also certainly would have made Slade a more compelling character.

The various post-apocalyptic vehicles used throughout the movie are pretty badass looking. We’ve seen these kinds of cars a million times before, sure, but they’re still pretty cool looking. The weaponry issue in the movie is odd as hell. Machine guns are abundant, but all handguns/side arms are revolvers. Why? How did that even happen? And where the hell are all of the bullets coming from to operate these guns? As far as I can tell there’s no factory where bullets are made, and I have no idea where anyone gets the necessary raw materials to make bullets. And everyone in this movie uses lots and lots of bullets.

And why would a nuclear war cause Alaska to become a hot as fuck desert? None of this is explained.

The car chases and action scenes are fairly well done. There aren’t as many hand-to-hand fights in the movie, which is a shame since Richard Norton is a real deal martial artist Norton does get to beat a few people up but he doesn’t get to showcase his considerable skills, which is a damn shame. I mean, The Ownership doesn’t have a few karate guys in it that Norton could beat up? What sort of post-apocalyptic gang doesn’t have at least one martial artist in it?


Norton does a pretty good job as Slade. He isn’t given much of a character to play, but he does what he can with what he’s given and he makes it work. He’s cool, he’s a badass, and he can kick the crap out of anyone. I just wish he had a better movie to work in. The Slade character deserves a chance to be in a better movie. I’d also like to know why Norton still has his Australian accent here. The movie never explains that.

Corinne Wahl is okay as Karen. She’s beautiful and a fighter but she, like Norton, isn’t given much to work with character wise, so she’s just sort of in the movie. The plot sure as hell shortchanges her. And what’s the deal with that tank top?

William Steis does a decent enough job as Lawton, the lead bad guy. He plays Lawton fairly low key and allows his guns and henchmen do his talking for him, which is an interesting strategy for this kind of character. You’d think a guy like Lawton would be more of an outright psycho but that just doesn’t happen. Even when he gets the Equalizer 2000 he doesn’t change all that much. So Steis does a good enough job with the character, but, man, Lawton isn’t all he could be.

The only actor who comes out of this movie okay is Robert Patrick as Deke. Patrick gives Deke the kind of douchebag energy necessary for the audience to both hate him and love to watch him. And Deke’s gang is far more interesting than The Ownership or any of the rebel groups. What the hell is that all about? And kudos to whomever came up with Zeke’s hat, which looks like a U.S. Civil War hat. You just don’t expect to see that kind of thing in the post-apocalyptic future.

Equalizer 2000 should be so much better than it is. It has all of the necessary potential to be a badass post-apocalyptic classic. Instead, it’s a bland, poorly written series of action scenes and explosions that just don’t go anywhere. The movie has its moments and it’s worth watching for Richard Norton completest, but, in an overall sense, Equalizer 2000 is not a full on must see. There are better post-apocalyptic movies out there. You should definitely see those. Only see Equalizer 2000 if you have the time.

Man, this movie should be so much better. It really should be.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: If it’s less than 100 I’d be shocked.

Explosions: Several, both big and small.

Nudity?: Almost.

Doobage: A spinning mega machine gun, an okay soundtrack, suped up old cars that look kind of cool, a mega shootout between the bad guys and someone else, multiple rockets and grenade launchers and shit, exploding trucks, people sweating, truck bondage, a high speed car chase, a somewhat weak looking car jump, cleave gag mild bondage, knee to the balls, hostage taking, gasoline carrier puncturing, forced self-driving car with car driving off a cliff and exploding, wound fixing, up close sweaty wound fixing, a .357 magnum, some guy working on a big gun, people using bows and arrows, arrow to the chest, a giant knife, multiple flamethrower attacks, a “Richard Norton making shit with power tools” montage, more explosions, more rocket launcher attacks, multiple men on fire, exploding rocks that look like miniatures, some really poor reloading, an ambush, explosions at night, more guys set on fire, attempted rape, cans of beers, exploding outpost building, a very lame sex scene, a car that as U.S. Air Force sticker on it for some reason, a full on staff beating, a big shootout, more flamethrower shit, spear through the chest, bullet to the hip, exploding chest, and a weird ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Spinning mega machine gun, Richard Norton, Richard Norton sweating profusely, Robert Patrick, a guy making a gigantic machine gun, multiple flamethrower attacks, multiple men-on-fire, sun torture, multiple explosions and gun battles and whatnot, and a weird ending.

Best lines: “Hey, Harry, what’s going on?,” “Do they have the oil? Do they have the oil? Over?,” “Double rations for everyone!,” “Water… water, huh? Water? What, are you thirsty?,” “She’s here!,” “Listen to this bitch!,” “I’d love to blow you guys right now,” “This ain’t healthy, dude,” “Did you notice that tattoo?,” “Who made this? Dixon,” “What do they call you? Slade,” “You must learn to let our people live in peace!,” “Shit! I knew this was going to happen!,” “You’ll need this,” “I want that gun,” “You don’t think you’re going to get away with this, do you?,” “Turn over so you don’t get burned!,” “The Ownership, huh? They won’t bother us anymore,” “He’s roasted. Won’t last,” “Is this the hardware you were talking about?,” “That’s politics. This is personal,” and “Stinking rebels! Idiots. They’re making it too easy for me.”

Rating: 6.0/10.0


The Gratuitous B-Movie Column The Facebook Page!

Please check out and “like” The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which is here.


The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page! Yeah!


Things to Watch Out For


Why Don’t You Just Die!: I recently reviewed this Russian black comedy thriller (check out the review here) and it’s the best movie I’ve seen so far in 2020. It’s just simply amazing on every level. The fine folks at Arrow Films are releasing it on Blu-ray, and it will also be available on various Video on Demand and digital HD platform, like iTunes. If you’re a fan of black comedies and, well, just good movies, you just have to check out Why Don’t You Just Die!. It really is that damn good.


Ip Man 4: The Finale: This is the fourth and, it would seem, final movie in the Ip Man franchise starring the great Donnie Yen. This installment has Yen going up against the also great Scott Adkins, and, from what I’ve heard about it, it takes place in America. The Ip Man franchise is something I haven’t really gotten into yet, but it’s on my list of things I need to see. And with my hope to devote the month of December 2020 to Donnie Yen movies (hence the whole Donnie Yen December), perhaps that’s when I’ll begin my Ip Man adventure. Maybe. We’ll see. Anyone out there see this?


Foxtrot Six: This is the Indonesian action flick produced by Mario Kassar (he’s one of many producers, actually, but he’s probably the only name anyone would recognize) that’s been getting doo reviews. It’s apparently about a former Marine that has to come back into service or some shit and take on a bunch of bad guys that want to assassinate the Indonesian president. Or something like that. The trailer seems to be an interesting mix of Hollywood sheen and Indonesian action. I definitely want to check this out. Will it be the start of a series of movies? I have no idea why but I can see that happening. The name kind of suggests it, doesn’t it?


Ouijageist: This appears to be some sort of mega low budget British horror flick about people fucking around with an Ouija board and then bad shit happening. Ouija boards are total bullshit, yes, but, on occasion, they can be the basis for an okay horror movie. Sometimes. This one looks okay. The fine folks at Wild Eye Releasing are putting it out. Rentable.


The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Season 2 begins!: Yes, finally Joe Bob Briggs is back with the second season of The Last Drive-In on Shudder. It all starts at 9pm EST on Friday night, April 24th, and, as of me writing this, we know Bloodsucking Freaks will be a part of the first week double feature and that pro wrestling legend Chris Jericho will be co-hosting that movie. Like season 1, season 2 will be nine weeks of double features, and I’m sure it will be awesome. I, for one, can’t wait for this and I will be participating starting at 9pm. Joe Bob is back in town! Yes! Darcy the mail girl will be back, too! Yes!


Next Issue: Post-Apocalyptic April concludes with Land of Doom!


Check out my Widow’s Point set visit!

Read it here!



Most Recent Interviews

Steve Latshaw
Rick Hurst
Douglas Burke
Jeff Farley
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson
Nico Sentner
Everett Ray Aponte
Max Martini
Tom Huckabee
Jason Kellerman
David Tarleton
Roxy Shih
Jesse V. Johnson
Tamas Nadas (2)
Jesse Thomas Cook
Adam Seybold
Liv Collins
Bryan C. Winn
Jeffrey Combs
Ezra Tsegaye
Alexander Nevsky(4)
Sebastian Wolf
Dana Gould
Janet Varney
Richard Brake
Steven Lambert
Rolfe Kanefsky
Robert Donavan
Lukas Hassel
Jessica Morris
Daniel Roebuck (2)
Clint Carney
Marco Siedelmann (2)
Sam Firstenberg (2)


Follow me on Twitter!


Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Equalizer 2000

Richard Norton– Slade
Corinne Wahl– Karen
Robert Patrick– Deke
William Steis– Lawton
Frederick Bailey– Hayward
Rex Cutter– Dixon
Warren McLean– Fletcher

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Cirio H. Santiago
Screenplay by Frederick Bailey, based on a story by Joe Mari Avellana and Frederick Bailey

Distributed by Concorde Filmverleih, MGM/UA Home Entertainment, Code Red DVD, and Scorpion Releasing.

Rated R for violence
Runtime– 85 minutes

Buy it here