There are a couple of 2010 movies that I’ve experienced recently starring Denzel Washington that showcase the actor stealing the show within the context of an only slightly above average film. These movies are The Book of Eli and Unstoppable, which are both fairly good, but underwhelming. The Taking of Pelham 123 from a little earlier was actually a superior flick to these two.
The Book of Eli takes place in an apocalyptic atmosphere that often seems forced rather than convincing. Seeing Washington along with Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman steal a show that has a somewhat cheesy premise and sometimes uneven is unfortunate. The main item of the movie, which is the philosophical book that Eli carries around, isn’t integrated in a convincing manner in the movie and Washington is forced to make the film come to life on his own merits several times. The film had moments that were enjoyable, but the entire story of the film doesn’t do the role that Denzel plays justice.
Similarly, the film Unstoppable is brought down by a less over the top approach, but it still is only pretty good when it could have been great. The various precarious situations involving the attempts to stop the train in the movie are actually very predictable and detract from the intensity that the movie could be conveying. Again, the part that Washington plays in the film is one of the standout elements to be seen, but one wishes that a better script could have been given for his role to truly come to life and steal the show. This is yet another film from 2010 that Denzel Washington stars in that could have been much better than it was, despite being relatively watchable.
The Book of Eli and Unstoppable were both slightly above average movies that would have benefited by a better story and directing that could have made them great. I will probably have to seek out movies like Training Day, which are said to be of a higher quality if I want to see Washington in a film that does justice to his acting capabilities.