The casting of John Lithgow as a multiple murderer in ''Ricochet'' may be the most interesting thing about the film, that and the casting of Denzel Washington as his nemesis.
Beyond that, the new movie is trite, wildly implausible and a little bit sick. What the producers of this film are asking us to do is accept a mass killer as a semi-comic figure, and he is not. Beyond this, the movie is a formula cat-and-mouse exercise that becomes interesting only when the mouse turns on the cat, and by the time that happens, the film is almost finished.
For some, it will have been finished long before that. This is a film that is easy enough to leave long before it is done.
It's foolish. That's its biggest failing. The producers couldn't decide what they wanted to do with all this, make it funny, make it serious-funny or make it sick. It is more sick than anything else.
Lithgow plays a psycho, Earl Talbot Blake, who is sent to prison by a cop, Nick Styles, played by Washington. The killer's prison term plays like a ''Mad Max'' movie. He bides his time until he can escape, which he does, leaving a mountain of bodies behind him.
All he wants, of course, is revenge against the cop, who is now married, the father of two girls and an assistant district attorney. The killer begins by framing the man's good friend, killing another and ruining the guy's life by making him appear to be insane.
Styles, however, can't be had that easily. He plays the game, and when he and the killer meet for the final showdown, there is some excitement. Unfortunately, long before this, the movie has fizzled, partly because it means to be a mix of Hitchcock and ''Friday the 13th'' and misses as both.
Lithgow has fun with the role of the killer. He lets it all out. Washington does some loosening of his own. The performances are always better than the film.
''Ricochet,'' which includes Lindsay Wagner as the district attorney and Ice T as Styles' boyhood friend who has gone bad, is showing at local theaters.
* A multiple killer lives for the day he can nail the cop who sent him to jail.
CAST: Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice T, Lindsay Wagner.
DIRECTOR: Russell Mulcahy.
RATING: R (sex, nudity, violence, language).
RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes.