With the notable exception of 2012's
Sure, a bit more comedy has been drizzled on to some of the parts, and character nuances have been a little different--he's an all-powerful international spy one time, a veteran train operator the next—but the overall shape is remarkably similar. Against forces far larger than him, Denzel has to scheme or shoot his way out or risk being vanquished. That continued this weekend with “2 Guns,” in which Washington plays a DEA agent who must go rogue after a conspiracy develops against him.
PHOTOS: Summer Sneaks 2013
Is this a good thing? Some--particularly those who remember his gritty early work in movies like “Glory” and “
But even many of us who feel this way should probably admit, even grudgingly, that there’s something impressive about the ability to turn in this kind of movie again and again. It’s almost never done anymore.
Most brand-name actors eventually leave behind their commercial past for a stream of prestige movies (see:
VIDEO: Upcoming summer films
As “2 Guns” director Baltasar Kormakur told me in an interview. “Denzel is a great screen actor who’s also a big action movie star, and there are not many who can balance that out. He can be difficult, let’s be honest; he’s not an easy guy to wrangle. But he does it out of care.”
Of course, trying to find the quality within the commercial isn’t the same as actually doing it. Some of his recent movies, such as “Safe House” and “Unstoppable,” have been well-crafted entertainment and Washington has added immensely to them. Some of them, such as the remake of “The
And you can’t argue with the fan logic. While his base isn't hugely broad, no Denzel Washington movie of this recent run has opened below $22 million in the U.S. (the trend continued this weekend with the debut of "2 Guns" to $27.4 million) and all have pulled in at least $150 million globally. In a time when anything that isn't superhero or animated can take a beating—when even big stars like
Washington is heading back to Broadway next year with a revival of “A Raisin in the Sun." He won a
Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT