review for Déjà Vu on AllMovie

Déjà Vu (2006)
by Cammila Collar review

Tony Scott is in no shortage of the trademark bombast that marks the American institution known as the popcorn flick. But while the best directors in the action thriller genre either suck us in with an adrenaline contact high (Michael Bay) or invite us to laugh at their deliberately over-the-top antics (John Woo), Déjà Vu meanders between these two. The movie indeed covers most of its bases: Large, impressive explosions? Check. Badass, lone-wolf protagonist? Check. Totally preposterous scientific premise? Check. The only problem is that you can't quite give yourself over to a movie like this when you aren't sure if its creators are in on the joke. None of its escapades are screamingly crazy enough to prove that the movie's ridiculousness is intentional, so sometimes Déjà Vu's cocky horseplay goes from good-bad to bad-bad. This doesn't mean the film isn't lovable in its own (probably) blind fury. On the contrary, the bastardized quantum physics that drive the plot will provide substantial laughter for the geeks in the audience, and Denzel Washington delivers the cool bravado we want when his only job in a movie is to show up and play himself. Scott also appears to have cemented his own signature camera shot, a video-game-style move where the camera races forward at super-speed and then halts and swivels to the side in slow-motion to focus on the action for three or four seconds (it looks exactly like a fatality in Burnout 3, if that helps). All that this unapologetic swaggering does is allow you to get the most out of the delightfully absurd climax, but there's something considerably less satisfying about going along for the ride without knowing if you're doing it in spite of yourself. In the end, Déjà Vu is most certainly worth the price of admission, but it probably won't earn it a place on your list of hardcore action thriller guilty pleasures.