Man on Fire Reviews
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-.
This time Scott sets the film in Mexico City for its high scores in kidnapping and the grounded Washington takes on the role as Creasy. First thing I have to mention is how good this film looks, the Scott brothers know how to make films look sweet and this is no exception. You really get a hot humid, sweaty, sticky feel for this setting, you can sense the tension and stress on 'Creasy's' shoulders merely from the weather that swirls around him.
Mexico City is a vibrant colourful place and Scott makes full use of this with his camera angles and uneasy sequences which he seems to almost blur when combined with the native soundtrack and fast movements of the action, everything feels uncomfortable as you wait for the inevitable to happen.
The only issue I had with the film is its really quite predictable even if you have never seen the first film or read the book, Washington is stoic and owns his role but you know what's gonna happen at every turn. The film is also a bit slow really as we see 'Creasy' gradually gain 'Lupita's' trust and friendship which is needed of course but basically the fun doesn't kick in until she is stolen away, until then your just watching filler as it were.
I think the film wants to be epic but doesn't really make it, the cast is certainly aimed at a thriller epic and the musical score really really wants you to feel the emotion as it builds towards the end but I personally just didn't feel it. I think Tony tries to nick his brothers idea from 'Gladiator' with the haunting score towards the end, the kind of 'Clannad' type sounds do seem rather familiar.
Its a solid film with good performances but not as stand out as you would hope for, quite bleak and dirty with a real gritty essence but ends up becoming a typical vengeance thriller, better than most but nothing grand.
The first half of "Man on Fire" is simply dedicated to the character development between Denzel's character, Creasy, and Pita, played by Dakota Fanning. Regrettably, it doesn't pan out to be much of a palpable or interesting story arc, but once the action picks up, it's entertaining. Not much more, not much less. There's unique ways to Tony Scott decides to subtitle certain lines, even when its spoken in english. It's stylish and creates a certain artistic style for the movie. The same goes with the editing style. By the time the movie ends, we just kinda go, "Okay, I guess that was the ending." In terms of the narrative, it's obvious there is a solid conclusion, but there isn't a satisfaction of a well-rounded movie. Nevertheless, it's entertaining.
I found this film thought provoking, intense and actually quite emotional to watch. Sure its predictable as hell, but watching Denzel Washington play John Creasy, a role he seemed born to play sure was entertaining.
The relationship between John Creasy, the bodyguard and little Lupita, the girl he is protecting is captivating as the washed up ex CIA agent fights with alcoholism and discovers a reason to start living again. If thats not enough for you, Rachel Ticotin (Con Air, Total Recall anyone?) puts in a good supporting role as a reporter out to help John Creasy as he attempts to find the kidnappers.
Go watch it, Go Buy it.
Either way, I expected better.
Finally! I have made time to watch this and I am so glad I did, it's really good.
A real vengeful flick that fuels rage and turns hope into determination making it quite an emotional experience.
I must admit though, there were a few camera tricks that was sort of annoying but otherwise a very decent film.
this movie is brilliant and moving and really powerful!
i love this movie dakota fanning is brilliant and denzel washington is amazing!
the storyline is fantastic and the movie is just brilliant i cried at the end a lituraly blubbered my eyes out!!
I saw the film as a portrait - and a touching one at that. While there was no small measure of violence here, I found the violence not at all gratuitous. I was interested that another viewer saw the film as a throwback to an era when vengeance was cool: It was my impression that the director, or script, or actors, or whatever combination of these conspired to make the film what it was, invite the audience to draw its own conclusions about the place of vengeance in the world, rather than painting it in either strictly glorious or strictly ugly shades: it approached the complexity of life and the essence of love, it painted them in gentle hues on the screen, and then walked away to let them be.
Denzel Washington plays a gritty, alcoholic character who finds a reason to live. And that reason is a lovable girl, played by Dakota Fanning, the most talented child actor I've ever seen.
"Man on fire" is a gritty, tough film with lots of violent scenes. We see Creasy cut off fingers, torture, blow up people who doesn't offer information about the kidnapping of Pita (Dakota's character). Creasy has nothing to live for and nobody to love but her, so his actions are ruthless but in my opinion, justified.
Tony Scott takes time in developing the characters and the bond between Creasy and Pita is one of the strongest I've seen on the big screen.
Scott's filmmaking technique is rough and unconventional at times but the fast editing and grainy picture fits perfectly the film.
"Man on fire" is a well made and important film in every aspect and a true masterpiece.
A great revenge film.