234 of 250 people found the following review helpful
"Last wish? I wish... you had... more time!" (4.5 stars),
This review is from: Man on Fire (DVD)
"Man On Fire" is an intense action thriller that takes you through hell and back. This is not a "happy" movie, and it's not pretty. It's extremely violent at times and the storyline is a reflection of a parent's worst nightmare--the kidnapping and possible murder of their child. While it can be over-stylish at times with fancy editing and camera work, it proves to be a more than effective thriller.
John Creasy used to work for the CIA, but now he's an alcoholic who doesn't think there's much to live for. This is due to the terrible things he has done in his line of work (we never know exactly what he did, but there are more than enough hints). Starting a new life in Mexico, his best friend finds him a job as a bodyguard to a nine-year-old girl since the family is worried about all of the kidnappings that have taken place in Mexico. The girl, Pita, takes a liking to Creasy right away, but he doesn't allow her in and treats her as nothing more than a job. Amazingly, he starts to get attached to Pita and finds a new reason to live. Not only is he her bodyguard, but he is almost like a second father to her.
Things drastically change when Pita gets kidnapped. Creasy does his best to take out the kidnappers when it happens, but is outnumbered and has been shot multiple times. While recovering in the hospital, he learns that the ransom for little Pita has gone sour and that her captors have most likely executed her. This sets off a rage inside Creasy like he has never experienced before. He checks himself out of the hospital and wages his own war against everybody who was involved in the kidnapping/murder of Pita. And he vows to kill every single one of them.
Tony Scott directs this intense and emotional thriller. He does a great job with the material and he knows how to get the performances that he wants from his actors. My complaint is that he goes a little overboard with the fancy camera work and editing at times, but that is something that can be overlooked. Denzel Washington gives one of his most powerful performances since "Training Day." He really makes you feel for his character, and his absolute hatred towards the people involved with the horrible kidnapping is done in an extremely realistic and convincing way. Dakota Fanning does a great job in her role of "Pita" and does well by playing opposite of Denzel. And, we cannot forget the great Christopher Walken who also does a superb job on his part. He plays it perfectly and does not try to steal any scenes from Washington.
It must be said, this is a vicious movie. It's not for people with weak stomachs. There is one scene in particular that makes the ear-cutting scene in "Reservoir Dogs" look like absolutely nothing. Denzel's character doesn't only want to murder the bad guys... he wants to make them suffer in the most horrific ways, and he does that many times. It's not a happy or cute movie. It will disgust a lot of people, so it's not for everyone. Make sure you keep that in mind if you decide to rent this. Other than the option to watch the movie in DTS and two commentary tracks, the DVD has no special features. It looks and sounds great. It would've been nice if they did more with the DVD in the special features department, though.
"Man On Fire" is a powerful and unforgiving thrill ride that will keep your heart pumping and your forehead sweating. Other than some of the flashy and fast editing/camera work, the movie really works. Again, this is not for anybody with weak stomachs. It is very disturbing and unsettling. If you're looking for a powerful thriller with a lot of "bang" and real emotion, then this is something to check out. As dark and brutal as this movie is, I really enjoyed watching this. -Michael Crane
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 30, 2008 8:36:59 AM PDT
D. Mikels says:
Posted on Dec 18, 2010 11:16:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2010 11:20:09 AM PST
Mark O. Avery says:
A solid review. This is my favorite Denzel piece ("Malcolm X" and "Training Day" following closely). Dakota & Denzel 'work'
in this film, an empathetic pairing of good actors (the entire
cast is tight). Another attraction is Scotts' trippy, over-the-top
direction, it adds to the power of the film and as much as any other factor brings me back for repeated viewings. I'm a fan of a few SCOTT-FREE productons. Definitely a recommended rent-
al, again, just have the stomach for it.
Posted on Dec 31, 2011 7:41:10 PM PST
Paige S. McParland says:
Wow. This reviewer seems almost more impressed with his ability to review a movie than he is with the movie itself. If this movie "disgusts" people, then they miss the point. The violence is almost poetic (after all, Creasy is "creating his masterpiece" and in the process redeems himself) Dakota Fanning is spectacular as Pita, the empathic redeemer who gives Creasy back both his humanity and his soul. I never watch "violent" movies; this one, however, is terrific - and the music and editing style amazing. (Rachel Ticotin deserves notice for her role as a journalist who risks her life to reveal "The Voice")
In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2012 12:01:41 AM PDT
My favorite Densel poece as well. And btw.....its not that violent, and nothing compared to reservoir dogs in any way! This movie made me want to go back into "training" and be like Denzel.....A man on Fire. If this movie doesn't touch and inspire you to see what one man can do, nothing will. (This is based on a true story!)
Posted on Oct 24, 2012 9:40:39 AM PDT
Steve Douglas says:
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 11:02:57 AM PDT
Many of us on netflix dont use blue ray or care what it is. Hi def is the most I care or know about. Most of my movies I watch on netflix streaming here anyway. sorry I couldnt help. Besides, after age 50, you can give up a little clarity, it doesnt have to be where i can see every pimple on a womans behind and still be fine. Most of us here are not gamers. -)
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 11:26:29 AM PDT
Steve Douglas says:
You have to remember that any streaming film is not true HD. It is a highly compressed format resulting in lower video resolution and clarity as well as compressed audio. I am 62, certainly not a gamer, and, while I respect your views, to me, watching a streaming movie is like reading a Readers Digest condensed novel. I want the best for my theater system and not a audio/video 'half of what is should look and sound like' version. Besides, I like viewing women's behinds!;-)
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2012 7:12:09 PM PDT
Steve, you have a point. Im interested in that "area" myself and now you are making me think of all I could be cheating myself out of. lol Yet, Im one for convenience, dont like running to video stores(are there any left?) or waiting for stuff to come in the mail. So.....I will stick with streaming...for now. But you know in a coupleof yrs they will have a way to stream in the best quaslity, and then dvds will _______?????? what can they do to keep making it better. where is the limit? In 5 years will all movies be interactive so when halle berry comes out on screen you can go "come here honey" and she will walk over and start conversing with you??? ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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