The callous lies of Denzel Washington movie titles

Denzel Washington is a fine, fine actor. But his movie titles? They lie to us. They lie to us a lot...

Man On Fire

I fully appreciate that it’s not an easy job to come up with a sellable title for a film. In an ideal world, it has to convey the subject of what the movie is about, and also be catchy enough, for good reasons, for us to remember.

However, I sat down to watch the new Denzel Washington/Ryan Reynolds flick Safe House last week, and it immediately became clear – and this is only telling you something that’s in the trailer – that the house in question didn’t appear to be very safe at all. Truthfully, it wouldn’t be much of a movie if it was.

I then started considering some of the more recent Denzel Washington movies I’d seen of late, and, well, here’s my scientific research.

I should be up front and say that there are some (easily guessable) spoilers here, but nothing that I’d suggest would ruin any of the films. I’d include Virtuosity, by the way, but I’ve got absolutely no idea what it means.

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We may as well start here. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s a rotten poster, here’s a film that’s clearly missing an ‘Un’ from the start of its title. In fact, it could borrow the ‘Un’ from our next example, and correct them both in one swoop…


See? Appreciating Stoppable might give the game away a little, this is supposed to be a film about a runaway train. There’s no way on earth it can be stopped, you might think! But then the law of Denzel Movie Poster Lies kicks in.

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It’s this inaccurate, at least until Safe House nicks the ‘Un’ off the front of its name and gives us the real truth in the process.


You’re probably getting the hang of this by now. Man Not On Fire At All, more like. My definition of a man on fire is most closely matched by what Nicolas Cage is currently up to in the Ghost Rider movies. It does not involve a throwback to 80s action cinema, albeit a mighty entertaining one.


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More lies! Before I get pithy again, if you get a chance, check out Out Of Time director Carl Franklin’s One False Move. It’s comfortably one of my favourite thrillers of the 90s.

It’s better than Out Of Time, too, a movie about a man who, you might think, is, well, out of time to solve a crime, as if the Countdown clock is blithering away in the background.

Cutting It Fine might be a bit more honest…


He’s just taking the piss now.

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A title that’s seemingly been thought up just to give film critics an easy opening line to their reviews (see also: Jennifer Lopez in Enough), Déjà Vu suggests, according to the dictionary, “the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before”.

Déjà Vu, the movie, does not feature that. At all. Naughty, Denzel.


A fine thriller this, but I can confirm, having watched it twice, at no point does Satan pop up wearing a little blue number. Apologies for the spoiler, there.


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Those expecting a flying cow in this one? Prepare, once again, to be disappointed. Er, this list might be getting just a little tenuous about now.


Fallen? He’s standing for pretty much the entire bloody movie! Okay, I’ll stop. I’m just embarrassing myself now.

Safe House is in cinemas from 24th February. Our review is here.

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