- Complete Monster: Earl Talbot Blake is a cruel hitman who is seen murdering a drug dealer for his money before he is pursued by a cop named Nick Styles. After taking a woman hostage, Blake is arrested by Styles and rots for years in jail while burning with hatred for his captor. Blake escapes by causing a massacre of a parole hearing and murders a man to serve as a stand-in for Blake's corpse. Blake proceeds to hound Styles, injects him full of drugs and films him being raped by a prostitute to destroy Styles' career, marriage and life. Blake later kills Styles's partner and gleefully says he wants to destroy everything Styles has. When his own loyal right-hand man finally has enough, Blake murders him, too.
- Foe Yay: Blake's obsession with Styles, evident from some of his lines:
"Last time I held a gun in this hand, a young man took off all of his clothes for me!"
- Hilarious in Hindsight: It's only fitting that prior to playing Malcolm X, Denzel (or rather, Nick Styles) would see a Malcolm Xerox on TV, that is, the talk show guest who was going on about a conspiracy to bring Nick Styles down.
- Magnificent Bastard: Earl Talbot Blake, whose elaborate revenge plan to turn Nick Styles into a Hero with Bad Publicity rather then just kill him actually works and Blake had a Near Villain Victory, until...
- Styles had a plan himself at the climax when he pretends to admit to taking responsibilities of what Blake frames him for before faking his suicide to drive Blake to a Villainous Breakdown and then confront him at the Watts Towers where Nick, backed by his friend Odessa and his crew of street criminals, fights Blake on the Towers before causing him to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
- What An Idiot: Kim is established as not the brightest when he unlocks his gang's door with his own key so Blake can kill them. Blake promptly closes it, says "Why don't you just shout that it's an inside job?", and breaks in.