Which character do you think of when you hear the name Denzel Washington? Alonzo from Training Day? John Creasy from Man on Fire? Or maybe Dr. Philip Chandler from St. Elsewhere? Everyone has their favorite Denzel character, I definitely have mine (Alonzo and Robert McCall).
I like how good he is at playing a good guy who is also bad guy and a bad guy who is also a good guy. He can toe the line better than anyone. But which good guys are the best kind of good guys? Which bad guys are the worst kind of bad guys? Also, which good guys are the worst bad guys and which bad guys are the best good guys? It’s a lot to digest.
Below I present to you with the best Denzel characters that fit these descriptions, along with the Denzel Washington Character Scatterplot to help clarify things further. Points are awarded on a scale of -10 to +10 how good (+10 equals the super good, -10 equals no goodness), or bad the character is (-10 equals baddest bad, +10 equals no badness).
Robert McCall – Equalizer
The Good: Defender of the Oppressed. +10
The Bad: None. Only does good things for good people. +10
Chisolm – The Magnificent Seven
The Good: US Marshal, defender of the oppressed. +9
The Bad: Kinda only did it because of Peter Sarsgaard +6
Frank Lucas – American Gangster
The Good: Good businessman, but his business is drugs. -8
The Bad: See above. Yells at his wife for buying him a fur coat. -8
Keith Frazier – Inside Man
The Good: Good detective/hostage negotiator +9
The Bad: Takes advantage when advantageous. +5
John Creasy – Man on Fire
The Good: Destroys anyone involved with Pita’s kidnapping. Very creative at torturing/killing bad guys for information. Sacrifices himself for Pita. Loves Linda Ronstadt. +10
The Bad: Alcoholic. Suicidal. Artist of death +3
John Quincy Archibald – John Q
The Good: A father that will do anything for his son, who is in need of a heart transplant. +10
The Bad: Creates a hostage situation at a local hospital. +5
Alonzo – Training Day
The Good: Has racked up 15,000 man years of prison time due to his convictions. While this is technically good, he clearly uses nefarious tactics to convict. -10
The Bad: See above. No morals. Murderer. -10
Whip Whitaker – Flight
The Good: Excellent Pilot. eventual truth teller +8
The Bad: Alcoholic, drug user. +3
Once this information is plotted, you can see that Robert McCall is the best kind of good guy. In fact, he’s so good that there isn’t any room to fit his name in the top right corner of the chart.
Alonzo is the worst kind of bad guy, and anyone who has seen Training Day knows this.
Most of his characters fall in the upper right corner of the scatterplot, which signifies most of his characters are inherently good, with some bad undertones. This is clearly the most successful kind of Denzel character, which is probably why he goes this route most of the time.
Denzel is the best bad/good good/bad guy actor that has ever lived.