FBMR - Man On Fire
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

MAN ON FIRE (2004) ***

This movie goes through a number of very distinct transitions. There’s a lot going on throughout, exploring several issues and themes. I’ve always liked director Tony Scott’s style and previous films, and this one doesn’t disappoint. His use of camera effects, sped-up sequences, repetition in editing seems to have gotten more pronounced with each film he makes. Although, I hope it doesn’t get to be too much in any later films he makes. I wouldn’t want it to seem overdone or over-used.

John Creasy (Denzel Washington), whose name sounds suspiciously like "crazy", is a former G.I. who has also worked in counter-terrorism, but is somewhat washed-up because of a drinking problem. A former military buddy (Christopher Walken) tries to help him out by getting him a job as a bodyguard in Mexico, where kidnappings are said to occur daily, if not hourly. He’s hired to guard a little girl named Lupita (Dakota Fanning), who wants to befriend Creasy. Creasy’s tattered past has left him somewhat anti-social, but he soon warms up and truly cares for Lupita. He helps coach her in swimming, and becomes a very positive role model for her, and she helps him learn to love and care again.

Then Pita gets kidnapped, but not before Creasy takes out a number of the conspirators and gets shot several times, near fatally himself. When Creasy leaves the hospital, the movie gets a whole lotta angry a whole lotta fast as he tracks down the abductors to administer his own brand of justice. But it doesn’t stop there, and he soon discovers some unexpected facts about the kidnapping that again change to mood of the movie.

It has some funny little moments, it has some moments of pure vengeance, it is dark and morbid, but not without some heart and redemption and sacrifice.