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There’s a reason Denzel Washington and the late Tony Scott worked together so often. The younger Scott sibling specialised in the kind of high octane action movie that requires a complete suspension of critical thinking, and Washington is the kind of actor who can bring conviction to even the most ludicrous premise. Deja Vu is one of their less-remembered collaborations, but it’s possibly the most glorious insane.
The film opens in fairly standard police procedural style with Washington’s hard-bitten special agent brought in to investigate a terrorist attack on a Naval ferry, before taking a hard turn into sci-fi with the introduction of a highly questionable time travel element. First Washington’s character learns that due to a mysterious ‘satellite technology’, he and a team of stock control room types can view and record the events of four days previously – but only four days (4 days, 6 hours, 3 minutes, 45 seconds, 14.5 nanoseconds to be precise).
Inevitably, the technology is exploited to actually send Washington’s character back in time himself, so that he can stop the bomb attack and save the beautiful girl whose half-charred corpse he apparently falls instantly in love with during the investigation. Only an actor of Washington’s calibre could react to a line such as “time is like a Burrito” without the movie descending into full-blown camp. The plot bears absolutely no scrutiny, but the double Oscar winner is so committed to the material that it’s hard to resist going along for the ride.
Like Christopher Nolan, Tony Scott’s movies are generally more about concept and execution than characterisation, so aside from his early success helming Beverley Hills Cop II, there are no direct sequels in his filmography – and in any event, Deja Vu’s middling box office takings didn’t really justify one. On a $75 million budget it took a disappointing $64 million in the USA, although global Box Office receipts pushed it up to a healthier $180 million total gross.
Nevertheless, it’s fun to imagine what other demented routes Scott might have explored given full reign to explore the further adventures of Denzel’s time travelling cop. Tune into this week’s episode, where we discuss the possibilities…
John’ Pitch | Deja 2: Butterfly Effect
Harry’s Pitch | Deja Vu, Deja Vu
Our Deja Vu episode is available through iTunes, Stitcher, aCast and many other podcast hosting channels. If you remember this utterly ludicrous movie, give us a listen and let us know what you think of our sequel ideas. You can also contribute your own in the comments section below, or via Facebook and Twitter. The best suggestions will receive a shout-out in a future episode.