Equilibrium (2002) – Christian Bale

8.5/10 — This movie was made shortly after The Matrix came out breaking all kinds of records, and seemed to try to copy its style, with slickly-dressed plain-faced agents dropping guns from their sleeves and shooting guns from exotic martial arts stances as if performing a wushu demo. But it’s not just a corny ripoff; this movie has a quality of its own. Particularly appealing to people with an interest in the plight of a freedom-fighter movement against a hi-tech draconian police state. This is more of a sci-fi than a martial arts flick, but is listed here as it contains plenty of fast-paced skilled combative action including empty-handed fighting, samurai swordsmanship and guns ablazing in Matrix-like ‘bullet time’. Plotwise, Equilibrium basically follows the plight of the highest-ranked, most-skilled assassin from the government’s elite hit squad, from initially callously killing anyone he’s ordered to kill, to eventually becoming leader of the rebellion and overthrowing the evil dictator. It’s not too heavy on the plot so not a movie for drama lovers but has the balance just right for those who prefer adrenaline-rich action and steer clear of gritty drama. With a likeable lead character, entertaining techniques, strong scenery and a simple but powerful story, this movie makes an impact, scoring 8.5/10.