Ricochet (film)

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Ricochet ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRussell Mulcahy
Produced byMichael Levy
Joel Silver
Screenplay bySteven E. de Souza
Story byFred Dekker
Menno Meyjes
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyPeter Levy
Edited byPeter Honess
HBO Pictures
Silver Pictures
Cinema Plus L.P.
Indigo Productions
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 4, 1991 (1991-10-04)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$21,756,163

Ricochet is a 1991 American action crime thriller film, directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice-T, Kevin Pollak, and Lindsay Wagner. The film details a struggle between a Los Angeles attorney (Washington) and a vengeful criminal (Lithgow) that he arrested when he was a cop.


In 1983, rookie Los Angeles police officer and law student Nicholas Styles (Denzel Washington) meets his future wife Alice (Victoria Dillard). He drifts away from his childhood friend Odessa (Ice-T), who is drifting into a life of crime in South Central Los Angeles. Styles and his partner Larry Doyle (Kevin Pollak) patrol a carnival, where they encounter hitman Earl Talbot Blake (John Lithgow) and his servile accomplice Kim (Josh Evans). Styles catches Blake at gunpoint and is forced into a standoff when Blake takes a hostage. After stripping his equipment and uniform off, Styles uses a hidden gun in his athletic supporter, shooting Blake in the knee and subduing him. The incident is caught by an amateur videographer and is shown on television, making Styles a hero. He and Doyle are subsequently promoted to Detective, while Blake is sent to prison.

Eight years later, Styles has moved on to be an Assistant District Attorney, is married to Alice, and has two daughters. At the same time, Blake has degenerated into further violence fighting against the Aryan Brotherhood. He also strikes a deal with the leader of the gang to plot an escape. Having been incarcerated with Blake, Kim is paroled and plans to assist in Blake's escape and revenge. Blake and the AB members stage a violent and deadly prison escape during a parole hearing, which only Blake and the AB leader survive. Blake murders the gang leader and burns his corpse.

Styles finds Odessa, who has become a major drug-dealer in the neighborhood. Blake and Kim later kill the city councilman, staging his death to appear as a suicide. Styles is abducted by Blake and Kim outside his home and is held hostage in an empty swimming pool for several days. Blake and Kim regularly inject Styles with heroin and cocaine while engaging in arm wrestling. Blake hires a blonde white female prostitute Wanda (Linda Dona) to have sex with Styles. As she strips naked, Wanda ignores Styles' weak objections and proceeds to rape him as Blake records the incident on video. After Blake and Kim deposit Styles' unconscious body on the steps of City Hall, Alice overhears Styles' phone conservation and thinks he cheated on her with a prostitute. Styles witnesses a video of Blake going up to his daughters' room and holding a hatchet over them just before the tape cuts out. Terrified and enraged, Styles heads to the park, sees a black-clad figure who is a clown, and holds him at gunpoint. After the tape has been substituted with the video recording of Styles' rape, he vehemently protests his innocence and Blake's complicity to District Attorney Priscilla Brimleigh (Lindsay Wagner), who suspends Styles. After receiving evidence of Blake's obsession, Styles and Doyle go to the bookstore that night, and Styles beats information out of the owner. Blake ambushes Doyle, fatally wounds him in the alley, and escapes.

Desperate, Styles contacts Odessa for help, evacuates his family from their home, and takes them to the housing project Odessa uses as a drug lab. Styles then goes to the roof and raves to the street below, appearing to be suicidal. Blake arrives at the project, while Styles fakes his own death by starting a fiery explosion in the building and escaping. Odessa's gang abducts Kim, and Odessa sends a message to Blake that Styles is alive and intends to get him, challenging him to come to the Watts Towers. Blake finds Kim tied to the scaffolding and kills him. On the towers, Blake and Styles fight until Styles knocks Blake off the tower, fatally impaling him on a spike. Styles reunites with his family and calls out to Odessa one last time, inviting him to basketball. The television news crews are there, broadcasting the latest events that have dramatically proven Styles innocent. When a newscaster (Mary Ellen Trainor) asks Styles for a comment, he turns off the news camera.



Reportedly, violent scenes in the film were heavily cut down following the test screenings. According to interview with director Russell Mulcahy, in one of the scenes that were cut out Blake physically abuses Styles until Styles pukes out and Blake gets a sponge to clean him up. This is why Styles has vomit on him when he is found in the streets. The Uncut Version of the film was never released.


On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 72% based on 18 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10.[1] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[2]

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film two thumbs down on their movie review program, describing it as ridiculous, goofy, embarrassing, unsavory and distasteful but also stylish, ambitious and having some smart dialogue.[3]

Box office[edit]

The movie had a modest box office. It premiered 5 weeks prior to the premiere of Cape Fear, a film starring Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte with a very similar storyline.[4]


  1. ^ "Ricochet (1991)-Rotten Tomatoes".
  2. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  3. ^ http://siskelandebert.org/video/8OY76MM18YAH/Frankie-and-Johnny-Homicide-Little-Man-Tate-1991. Retrieved 2016-10-24. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Weekend Box Office : 'Fisher King' Still Reigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-08-05.

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