Equilibrium, 2002


Karate films, boxing films, gun fighting films...yada yada. That's so 20th century. So what now!? How about inventing a new type of martial arts or a new type of action film?! Enter 'Equilibrium' and Gunkata. Gunkata and the action sequences in Equilibrium (2002) are probably the biggest stars here, almost more so than Christian Bale and the story...though it's brilliant to see Christian in one of his earlier roles.

Basically, Gunkata is this formula: Martial Arts + Lots of Guns = Awesome. Clearly this can be seen in this 'beginners' tutorial of Gunkata:

As described word for word from the movie, the art of Gunkata can be described as follows: 'through analysis of thousands of recorded gun fights; the cleric has determined that the geometric antagonist in any gun battle is a statistically predictable element.' (Eric Cartmen voice) Kick ass!!


After World War 3, a new nation called "Libria" emerges under the governance of Vice-Counsel Dupont (Angus MacFadyen), wherein its people live in constant peace and equilibrium. To avoid another war, human emotions, believed to be the root cause of conflict, are strictly illegal and punishable by death. If you show any form of feelings—happiness, sadness, anger, the law enforcers will arrest you. Literature, Art and Music, and other creative pursuits are forbidden.

To suppress emotions, Libria citizens are required to take their daily dose of Prozium, a potent drug that kills feelings. If you refuse to take the drug, police officers skilled in Gun-Kata, will chase you down. Cleric John Preston (Christian Bale) is one of those elite law enforcers (in fact, the very best) who tracks down and punishes "sense offenders." But one day, Preston accidentally misses his Prozium dose, and starts experiencing emotions for the first time. He discovers an amazing new world of sensation that inspires him to fight for freedom of expression and against tyranny.

Preston eventually discovers and meets the "Resistance," an underground society of rebels who have found a way to cheat the 'sense offenders,' ignoring their daily Prozium dose, all the while protecting and curating the few important artistic works left in existence.

As you could guess, Preston conspires with its members to bring down the government and restore independence and human emotion. And yes...Kick Ass Gunkata ensues.

While Gun Kata is fictitious in nature as well an over the top action movie, Equilibrium presents a great story, peppered with jaw-dropping fight scenes all throughout. The movie's futuristic sci-fi element also offers a dose of 'A Brave New World' set in the near or very distant future.

If you're an action fan…(and I am...and look, t takes a lot to impress me)...the action scenes in 'Equilibrium' will surely have you shouting out loud-victorious-action-film-glee-moments of 'Whoa' or 'Dude' or 'Fuck Yeah.' And while there were unfortunately no crazy Christian Bale rants captured on the set this time (as in Terminator: Salvation) it's great to see Bale in one of his earlier roles, shining in his character as the enforcer of "zero emotions": cry or die, smile or die it doesn't matter.

You'll also get to see Director Kurt Wimmer get his over the top action mojo on...years before he really 'arrived' with 'Law Abiding Citizen' (2009) and 'Salt' (2010).

wanted to write about 'Equilibrium' because our Film section is all about the 'Uncommon Films for the Uncommon Cinefile.' And look...these films don't all have to be Independent Oscar Award winning films to make it in our reviews. Being an action film expert...I totally missed this one for the first 8 years of it's release and I have to say I was impressed.

For the action genre 'Equilibrium' is a TOTAL 'A.' I mean check this shit out. Jaw dropping.  The epicness starts about 1:30.

But if action isn't your thing, well, I'm not saying this is gonna be your best movie experience ever but you should definitely have a blast. Just have some fun with it.

Best line in the movie is when Bale is apprehended by the 'sense authorities': They say something similar to: 'you've given me yourself...entirely without incident.' Bale: 'No…NOT without incident.' Reference previous YouTube clip (hehe).