Denzel Washington Forgotten Sci-Fi Thriller Is A Must Watch On Streaming

By Douglas Helm | Published

Denzel Washington gave us a lot of classic performances in the 90s in films like He Got Game, The Pelican Brief, Philadelphia, and, of course, Malcolm X. One film that doesn’t get brought up when talking about Denzel’s best 90s movies is 1995’s Virtuosity, which was critically panned upon its release. However, this film may be a bit underrated in the star’s filmography, and it’s worth revisiting now that it’s available to stream on Apple TV.

Denzel Washington Hasn’t Been In A Lot Of Sci-Fi

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington doesn’t often star in science fiction films, so Virtuosity is worth checking out for this fact alone. Washington stars in the film as Lieutenant Parker Barnes, who was imprisoned for killing the person who murdered his family. While in prison, he’s recruited to take part in a virtual-reality program where the participants must capture a computer entity known as SID 6.7 (Russell Crowe), which is modeled on the personalities of hundreds of criminals. However, SID 6.7 escapes into the real world, and Barnes must capture him before he starts killing people.

Russell Crowe Makes An Amazing Villain

Denzel Washington grounds Virtuosity with a typically great performance, but Russell Crowe adds to the film with his unhinged performance as SID. The film was directed by Brett Leonard with a screenplay by Eric Bernt. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Kelly Lynch, Stephen Spinella, William Forsythe, Louise Fletcher, and William Fichtner.

Denzel Helped Change The Script

Interestingly, Denzel Washington also had a hand in the film’s story and dialogue, as he changed some of the script for Virtuosity during production. One of the most significant changes he made to the script is the romantic subtext between his character and Kelly Lynch’s character, a criminal psychologist who works on understanding SID’s behavior. Of course, the changes to the script didn’t end up helping the film much, as it received mostly negative reviews when it first came out. 

Virtuosity Was A Flop

It’s a rarity for Denzel Washington, but Virtuosity also didn’t make much money at the box office. With an estimated budget of $30 million, the film only grossed around $37 million worldwide. As both a commercial and critical flop, the film has flown under the radar in both Washington’s and Crowe’s filmographies for a long time. However, if you’re looking for something a bit different from both actors, this might be the film you’re looking for.

Fans Of Washington And Crowe Should Watch It At Least Once

Upon rewatch, Virtuosity isn’t a bad film by any means, and Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe are always fun to watch. The premise is interesting, too, and that might be where much of the film’s disappointment comes from. It’s not hard to imagine there’s a better film that could be made with the same concept.

Denzel Starred In Only One Film Last Year

If you’re a big fan of Denzel Washington, you might be a bit disappointed that we only got one new film from him in 2023 with the solid The Equalizer 3. While we should be seeing him appear in Gladiator 2 later this year, we still have many months to wait. So, now is a great time to revisit some of his older films and check out Virtuosity over on Apple TV.

Source: GenreVision