Denzel Washington’s Underappreciated Sci-Fi Action Movie Is Free On Streaming

The Denzel Washington led 2006 sci-fi action film Deja Vu is streaming for free on Tubi.

By TeeJay Small | Published

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Denzel Washington has long held a reputation as one of Hollywood’s greatest performers, making nearly all of his film outings major hits. Of course, the Equalizer actor has a few rare under appreciated gems in his filmography, including Deja Vu, a 2006 sci-fi action film which is available to stream for free right now on Tubi. The film was directed by legendary action filmmaker and producer Tony Scott, the brother of auteur director Ridley Scott.

Tony Scott had previously collaborated with Denzel Washington on a number of films before Deja Vu premiered in theaters in 2006, including 1995’s Crimson Tide and 2004’s Man on Fire. Scott was perhaps best known as the director behind iconic films such as Tom Cruise’s Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop 2, and the Quentin Tarantino-penned True Romance. The pair would go on to collaborate on two more films, 2009’s The Taking of Pelham 123 as well as Scott’s final film, 2010’s Unstoppable, before the filmmaker’s untimely death in 2012.

Deja Vu touts an all star cast including Denzel Washington, Jim Caviezel, Val Kilmer, Adam Goldberg, and Bruce Greenwood. The film follows Denzel Washington’s character, ATF agent Doug Carlin, as he attempts to capture a terrorist responsible for a ferry bombing which killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Utilizing a science fiction technology which mimics the real life concept of deja vu, Washington is able to travel back in time to attempt to prevent the bomb from detonating in the first place.

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Denzel Washington and Paula Patton in Deja Vu (2006)

While the film touts incredible performances from Denzel Washington and company, Deja Vu may have been overlooked as the premise of the film is similar to other hit sci-fi outings such as 2002’s Tom Cruise-led Minority Report. While the tech in question functions in a completely different capacity to that shown in Deja Vu, the comparisons are inescapable, as both films feature law enforcement utilizing sci-fi tech to prevent crimes before they are committed. Of course, Deja Vu leans much heavier on action, even causing director Tony Scott to feud with the film’s screenwriters during production, as the writers preferred the film’s muted sci-fi themes to take center stage.

There were apparently a number of disputes regarding the film’s production, with both Tony Scott and Denzel Washington quitting the project during pre-production, only to eventually be coaxed back by the studio after rewriting a number of scenes to appeal further to the pair’s sensibilities. According to behind-the-scenes stories from the cast and crew, Denzel Washington had to personally ask Tony Scott to promise him that he wouldn’t quit Deja Vu again, a request which Scott only acquiesced to under the condition that he conduct his own rewrite.

Despite being mostly forgotten, particularly when compared to most other films in Denzel Washington’s filmography, Deja Vu did very well at the box office, taking in over $180 million worldwide against an estimated budget of roughly $75 million. Before production began, the film had been mired by a series of delays, including a delay in finishing the screenplay due to the events of the September 11th attacks of 2001, and shooting delays due to hurricane Katrina decimating much of New Orleans, where the film takes place. The film’s streak of behind-the-scenes tragedy seemed to continue years later when director Tony Scott tragically took his own life in 2012.

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From left to right: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, and Adam Goldberg in Deja Vu (2006)

Years after Tony Scott and Denzel Washington had collaborated on Deja Vu, Scott leapt from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, California, dying on impact with the water below. The ensuing investigation was something of a strange mystery, with a number of cryptic notes left behind in the filmmakers car and home, suggesting foul play. Ultimately, it was deemed that Scott took his own life to prevent a long and unpleasant battle with cancer, which his family had previously chosen to keep private.

Despite all the unpleasantness that took place behind the scenes of the film, the final product stands out as one of the best in Denzel Washington’s extensive catalogue. The film serves as both a high-octane action thriller, as well as a living memorial to the late Tony Scott, putting some of the filmmakers finest work on full display. Deja Vu is available to stream on Tubi for free now.