Denzel Washington: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked

King Kong ain't got sh*t on him!

Two Golden Globes. A Tony. Two Academy Awards. A career on stage and screen which has spanned over thirty years, has seen him play such real-life figures as as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, and work with celebrated directors like Spike Lee, Tony Scott, and Ridley Scott. A starring role on groundbreaking hospital drama St Elsewhere, in which he starred in all 137 episodes. Denzel Washington's career makes even his most celebrated Hollywood peer's look like piffle by comparison, and the guy makes it look easy. And to think of how different it could have been if, at the age of 14, his parents hadn't broken up and his mother hadn't sent him to military school in upstate New York. "That decision changed my life," Washington later said, "because I wouldn't have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I was hanging out with at the time, my running buddies, have now done maybe 40 years combined in the penitentiary. They were nice guys, but the streets got them." Rikers' loss was cinema's gain, as the young Denzel went through the usual college dalliance with acting which blossomed into one of the most engaging, interesting and always entertaining film careers of modern times, working his way quickly up from commercial work to feature film appearances. His collaborations with Spike Lee are where he really hit big and the rest, as they say, is history. This weekend sees the release of The Equaliser, a big-screen adaptation of the eighties TV show which sees Denzel as an ordinary man pushed too far by a big, bad world, taking up vigilantism to clean up his streets...which brings things nicely full circle since his first (uncredited) appearance in a film was Death Wish, the Charles Bronson flick which began the vigilante genre back in the seventies. It remains to be seen if the film becomes a classic in the Washington stable, or another of those misfires he's been making a habit of lately. To celebrate and/or commiserate, we thought we'd go through five awesome performances courtesy of Denzel...and five that sucked.
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Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/

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