Man on Fire

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony, Christopher Walken, Radha Mitchell, Mickey Rourke
Written By: A.J. Quinnell (novel)
Directed By: Tony Scott
Studio: Regency/ 20th Century Fox
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I like Denzel Washington as an actor and I dig Tony Scott movies so I was looking forward to checking this movie out. After seeing it though, I didn’t know what to think. It was a decent movie but I had a lot of problems with it.

Man on Fire takes place in Mexico City, and opens up with some funky text saying every 60 seconds, a person is kidnapped in Mexico City. So immediately I said to myself, “Yup, never going there!” Creasy (Denzel Washington) is a washed up, retired marine who’s a drunk. He takes a bodyguard job from Rayburn (Christopher Walken) and has to watch over a little girl named Pita (Dakota Fanning). She is the daughter of wealthy business people, Samuel (Marc Anthony) and Lisa (Radha Mitchell) who are always on business trips but want to protect their daughter. At first, Creasy is taking the job as a professional and trying to keep his distance from Pita, but sooner or later comes around and starts acting as a parent. He helps Pita with her swimming and other school stuff. One day, she gets abducted and Creasy gets wounded from battling with the abductors. Creasy survives and vows to kill every single person involved with the abduction.

I liked this movie, I thought it was intense and had some cool scenes but I also had some problems with it. I think Tony Scott’s direction made me want to puke. He used all these fancy smancy stylistic approaches to everything and it made me sick after awhile. For example, the opening credits has all these images and video flashing quickly and it just makes me want to barf. I think it’s just too much and goes overboard. The overboard part is when all the subtitles are animated, and fade in and out. The subtitles pick out certain words to display, even when it’s english. It was really unnecessary and kind of distracting. The movie is also a little bit long and could have knocked off a half hour at least. Most likely in the beginning since it takes awhile for the film to get going. With all the negatives out of the way, I still enjoyed watching the movie. I’m a Denzel fan, I like a lot of his movies and also think he’s a great actor. His character was bad ass in this film. Just stuff you don’t normally see Denzel doing in movies. There were a few scenes where I cringed because well, it was cringe worthy. I especially like when he stuck a plastic explosive up someone’s ass! Too bad he had to stick his fingers up there to do that though. Braver man than I. Christopher Walken is always fun to see on screen, even if the man is a little scary. It was cool to see him playing a good guy this time around. Dakota Fanning did an okay job, and had an all right chemistry with Denzel. I normally like Tony Scott movies like Last Boy Scout, Spy Games, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Enemy of the State but if he didn’t use such stupid techie effects, I might have liked this one more. But I think I was generally disappointed with the ending and was hoping for something better. Maybe i’m just a sucker for certain types of endings. But maybe this ending was more fitting for the type of movie it was.

There is only audio commentaries for extras and that’s pretty weak. At least they could have done a half-ass behind the scenes feature or something. But the commentary is with Tony Scott, Dakota Fanning, producer Lucas Foster and Screenwriter Brian Helgeland. I didn’t get a chance to listen to it because I was too busy watching the movie for the first time. Man on Fire could have been a little shorter and better but the film was still enjoyable for me. Worth checking out.

– Audio Commentaries with Tony Scott, Co-Star Dakota Fanning, Producer Lucas Foster, and Screenwriter Brian Helgeland.

5.1 Dolby Digital, 5.1 DTS

Widescreen: 2.35:1


Favorite Scenes: The abduction scene, all the revenge scenes
Rating: Rated R
Running Time: 146 minutes
Extras Rating:
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