Tony Scott takes a typical story of redemption and turns it into one of his typical, albeit entertaining stylish frenetic action romps.
John Creasy is a burnt out, depressed, alcoholic ex-CIA agent turned mercenary who gets a new lease on life after he agrees to become the bodyguard to a precocious little white girl named Pita living in Mexico City with her affluent "new money" parents.
Slowly but surely, Pita starts to rehumanize Creasy and bring him out of his slump. He goes over the edge and returns to his violent past life however, when she gets kidnapped and held for ransom. And, as you might expect, there's a twist (like always) and the film is heavy doses of both heart, mayhem, and splattered wall to wall with both blood and religious iconography/symbolism.
Basically this is a lot like Taxi Driver in many repects, though not nearly as competantly made, memorable, or brilliant. It's solid, sure, but Scott's stylistic tendencies are a bit overbearing and distracting here. I know he included them as a way of trying to set this routine story apart from other films of this ilk, but it doesn't work out for him nearly as much as it should.
The dialogue is clunky, the film isn't quite as balls to the wall in some places (as it should have been), and, even though I am a fan of heavy religious symbolism, it feels way too forced here. Also, the subtext involving corruption in Mexico is a little trite and really glossed over instead of being insightful and full of depth.
I do like htis movie though. I mean, it's Denzel Washington kicking ass and taking names...what's not to like? Walken put in an okay supporting performance where he doesn't paly a villain this time, and yeah, this is the breakout film for little Dakota Fanning who does a decent job with the amount of screentime she's given.
All in all, this is passable, but overwhelmingly underwhelming in it's lack of focus and over the top with it favoring of style over substance. B-.