Man on Fire Reviews

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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
April 30, 2004
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 29, 2004
Suffice it to say nothing about this pumped-up, hyperthyroidal Tony Scott revenge flick makes sense, but it takes two hours to kill off as many people and demolish as many vehicles as Charles Bronson used to do in 30 minutes.
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David Ng
Village Voice
April 27, 2004
Intentional or not, Man on Fire's over-the-top evocation of Christian retribution goes a long way to making this otherwise standard revenge fantasy watchable.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
April 26, 2004
I'm recommending Man on Fire for that bold style, its unapologetic comic book story arc, and the great performances from Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken and young Dakota Fanning.
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
April 24, 2004
This movie isn't just about a kidnapping; it is a kidnapping, and we're the hostages.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 23, 2004
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
April 23, 2004
Despite a red-hot performance by Washington as the antiheroic, self-annihilating title character, the film as a whole, while possessing a kind of vicious beauty, feels as cold and as embalmed as a corpse.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
April 23, 2004
A predictable, gruesome piece of business that tries to ennoble one-man vigilante justice with the star power of Denzel Washington.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 23, 2004
Long and torturous.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
April 23, 2004
Overlong, off-putting and at times sadistic.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
April 23, 2004
This is garbage, but it's entertaining garbage.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
April 23, 2004
You'd have to call Man on Fire a mess, but at least it's an interesting mess.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 23, 2004
A depressingly gory parade of vengeance.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
April 23, 2004
Man on Fire awakens a genuine sense of bloodlust in the viewer.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
April 23, 2004
The movie appeals to baser instincts, and Scott's heavy-handed button-pushing stacks the deck.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
April 23, 2004
If your idea of a bargain is two bad movies for the price of one, then shell out for Man on Fire.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
April 23, 2004
Man on Fire lacks the depth to truly ignite the screen, so instead does a slow, steady burn. It singes beautifully, but never explodes.
| Original Score: B-
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
April 23, 2004
Easily the best of the recent spate of cynical and violent revenge/vigilante dramas.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
April 23, 2004
Brain Hegeland's script offers a trio of endings, a bit much for a movie that lasts nearly 2 1/2 hours.
| Original Score: C+
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
April 23, 2004
Punch drunk with sadism and sentimentality.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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April 23, 2004
A highly watchable action thriller with one big flaw: It feels like two different movies aimed at two different audiences.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
April 23, 2004
Tony Scott's Man on Fire employs superb craftsmanship and a powerful Denzel Washington performance in an attempt to elevate genre material above its natural level, but it fails.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 23, 2004
Ponderous and bloated.
Full Review | Original Score: .5/4
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Mike Clark
USA Today
April 22, 2004
Seventeen years from now, we may well remember this version of the story -- just as one remembers getting hammered on the head repeatedly with a 2-by-4.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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April 22, 2004
Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson made the vigilante the true urban cowboy. But I think even they would blanch at the hero of Man on Fire.
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
April 22, 2004
One of the longest, dumbest and most savage revenge fantasies extant.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 22, 2004
Overblown, hyperactive.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
April 22, 2004
At 142 minutes, Man on Fire is too long, but watching the mystery unravel is still jolly good fun.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
April 22, 2004
At times, Man on Fire seems like it was filmed by a camera attached to a nervous hummingbird.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 22, 2004
A better-than- average example of a revenge flick.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
April 22, 2004
Two hours and 20 minutes of the most out-of-control filmmaking you've seen since your Jack Russell terrier grabbed the Handicam off the coffee table, mistaking it for a tug toy.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 22, 2004
[Washington] plays a cliched character in a by-the-numbers plot, but manages to make both acceptable on the sheer power of his screen presence.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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John Patterson
L.A. Weekly
April 22, 2004
A movie of two unreconcilable halves.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
April 22, 2004
Starts off as a good example of super-glitz moviemaking, gradually turns into a movie on fire -- another helter-skelter, big-studio spending spree.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
April 22, 2004
Think of it: Walken and Rourke in the same movie. That alone is worth the price of a ticket.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
April 21, 2004
One of the more absorbing and palatable entries in the rather disreputable Death Wish-style self-appointed vigilante sub-genre.
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Megan Lehmann
New York Post
April 21, 2004
Man on Fire feels vaguely like something left over from the 1980s, when action heroes were one-note tough guys methodically picking off baddies.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
April 21, 2004
The first (nonreligious) sure thing to hit the multiplex this year.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
April 21, 2004
Despite its high craft level and Washington's participation in it, this movie's showy violence is finally as deadening as the over-emphatic violence in these kinds of films generally is.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
April 21, 2004
A coldly violent revenge drama that tarts up scenes of wanton sadism with lush art direction, and a spiritual story that invokes serious struggle and prayer for atmosphere rather than content.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
April 21, 2004
[Scott's] fondness for intrusive, fake-stylish camera tricks -- jump cuts, speeded-up montages, abrupt changes in light, color saturation and focal depth -- has overwhelmed whatever story sense he once possessed.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
April 21, 2004
The film is always watchable, and the confrontations contain undeniable edgy excitement. But even if this weren't a remake, it would be a remake.