A taut, twisty urban suspenser powered by the spring-loaded performance of Denzel Washington in his first major action role, Ricochet has a nasty streak and a tendency toward implausible excess.
Washington plays an ambitious young cop who nails a vicious hitman (John Lithgow), putting him behind bars just as his own career begins an upward spiral. The pathological killer plots his revenge for seven years, watching the gifted cop become district attorney and acquire a loving family and a promising political future. When Lithgow finally breaks out of jail, he’s armed with a diabolical plan to wreak havoc on everything his nemesis has attained.
Tension is sustained by skillful cutting between the two opposite lives and full-bore performances on both ends of the seesaw. Plot kicks into high gear once the killer gets loose to pursue his prey.
Screenplay [from a story by Fred Dekker and Menno Meyjes] offers unusually good dialog for the smooth-talking Washington and a number of scenes to savor. Pic threatens to become truly absorbing as Lithgow’s brilliant revenge scheme unfolds, but Ricochet soon abandons cleverness in favor of spectacle.