Denzel Washington is a disillisioned soldier of fortune who grows close to a child he is paid to protect. When she is abducted, his fiery rage is unleashed on those he feels responsible, and he stops at nothing to save her.
The first thing to acknowledge when reviewing Tony Scott's "Man on Fire" is that it's essentially two films. It begins with former CIA operative John Creasy (Washington) taking up a simple bodyguard job for a wealthy family in Mexico City, a city rife with kidnapping where the family's young daughter Pita (Fanning) is an obvious target.
Creasy is a man struggling to live with the heavy conscious his years in the CIA earned him. The horrors he has seen are never shown or explained but it is clear from the offset that he has done things for which he believes he can never be redeemed. This belief leads him to develop a drinking problem and almost drives him to take his own life.
Shortly after a failed attempt to do just that, he begins to from a bond with the young girl he has been assigned to protect and they soon become close as he is once more able to enjoy life seeking redemption through the protection of an innocent child.
I've heard many complain that this half of the film is dull or overly long which seems highly unfair and is perhaps down to viewers expecting an explosion-fest right from the start. The chemistry between Washington and Fanning is outstanding, making the most trivial of conversations between the two a joy to watch. Fanning in particular deserves credit for delivering such a naturalistic and likeable performances at such a young age.
Such an outstanding performance as a child almost makes being in a Twilight film forgiveable. Almost.
The aforementioned viewers who were expecting to see things go boom would perhaps be best advised to tune in just for the second half of the film which certainly delivers on this front.
After a kidnapping gone wrong in Pita is killed and Creasy is labelled a cop-killer as part of the cover-up He vows revenge upon all those responsible for her death and backs up this promise with enough firepower to lay siege to a small nation.
From here things quickly descend into revenge flick territory where the hero can massacre countless goons in as brutal a fashion as possible because, hey, they started it.
Although the lesser o f the film's halves, the second portion is enlivened briefly by two incredibly tense if rather over the top interrogation scenes in which Creasy displays a ruthless determination to avenge Pita as well as a rather creative use for plastic explosives.
The other action scenes are perfectly enjoyable but soon leave the realm of believability as the film tries to up the ante with each one, culminating in Creasy breaking into an elderly couple's flat to fire a rocket launcher out their window. After you've finished laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of this tactic, you will find yourself questioning how Creasy is able to freely walk around town blowing people up.
Although such disregard for logic is commonplace in many action flicks, it's disappointing in a film that took the time to craft believable characters and you can't help but feel the opportunity to make a really great thriller was squandered in favour of cramming in more action set-pieces which, although well executed and enhanced by the effortless cool that Washington brings to all his roles, soon just become absurd.
The film's other major flaw is it's insistence on bringing into play a host of unnecessary minor characters from a journalist determined to uncover what really happened at the kidnapping, to a corrupt cop to..... Mickey Rourke. Seriously, I can barely even remember who his character was supposed to be. He's just there.
This overpopulation issue is especially absurd in a film that is at its finest when the two central characters are just left to play of each other, many of the others fail to serve any purpose other than to push the film's running time to a meaty 146 minutes.
In a such a lengthy film its especially important that when things finally do wrap up and, though many critics have disagreed, I feel "Man on Fire" succeeds on this front with an ending that's conclusive and moving, with an especially pretty final shot.
"Man on Fire" is still a very enjoyable film, the first half makes for an entertaining family drama , Creasy and Pita's relationship is sweet but entirely believable. Once things start exploding any potential for intelligence goes out the window but what remains is an entertaining romp which only occasionally becomes entirely too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
I personally think that this is one of the best movies that I have seen in terms of drama and emotions where an alcoholic that is on the verge of sucide and has a very hard exterior is drawn to a girl that he trys hard not to and then when he does vertually looks at her as a father to her and probably better than her own father and uses all his skills to strike vengegence on those who tried to hurt her.
Wow!!!! I havn't seen a film this gripping for a long time! It was like being on a roller coster there were so many twists and turns to the plot. Denzel Washington is superb, he plays Creasy an ex CIA agent, now a drunk has-been, although with the help of his friend, played by Christopher Walken, he is hired as a body-guard for a lovable young girl played by Dakota Fanning (excellent!)in corrupt Mexico City. Albeit inevitable he eventually befriends her and begins to get his life back on track - just as she is kidnapped - the ransom is set, but the trade off does not go to plan, the money is stolen before the swap, and the kidnapper presumes he has been double crossed - and thats were it starts getting interesting - Creasy will do anything to avenge the kidnapping this film is an absoulute MUST - I defy anyone not to enjoy it!!!
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Tony Scott-directed action thriller starring Denzel Washington as John Creasy, a jaded former CIA agent hired by a wealthy Mexican family to act as bodyguard to their ten-year-old daughter Lupita (Dakota Fanning). Initially reluctant to take on such a lowly position, Creasy becomes increasingly fond of his charge as she asks him questions about his life and he begins to open up to her and discover a tenderness long missing from his own life. But his newfound equilibrium is shattered when the girl is kidnapped, and he vows to find the men responsible and bring them to his own form of rough justice. The film is a re-make of the 1987 film starring Scott Glenn as Creasy, also based on the A.J. Quinnell novel.
Tony Scott-directed action thriller starring Denzel Washington as John Creasy, a jaded former CIA agent hired by a wealthy Mexican family to act as bodyguard to their ten-year-old daughter Lupita (Dakota Fanning). Initially reluctant to take on such a lowly position, Creasy becomes increasingly fond of his charge as she asks him questions about his life and he begins to open up to her and discover a tenderness long missing from his own life. But his newfound equilibrium is shattered when the girl is kidnapped, and he vows to find the men responsible and bring them to his own form of rough justice. The film is a re-make of the 1987 film starring Scott Glenn as Creasy, also based on the A.J. Quinnell novel.