out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Man On Fire
Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4
Thanks to Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning, this predictable
thriller, set in Mexico City, joins "Kill Bill, Vol. 2" and "The Punisher" in
the revenge-saga box-office sweepstakes.
After a prologue explaining that, in Latin America, there are brutal
kidnappings every hour and 70% of those taken do not survive, Washington plays
boozy John Creasy, a burned-out former CIA operative/assassin, whose guilt has
driven him to seek solace in the Bible, Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou" and a
bottle of Jack Daniel's. After a shifty lawyer (Mickey Rourke) advises a
wealthy Mexican industrialist, Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony), and his American
trophy wife Lisa (Radha Mitchell), that they need security protection for their
precocious nine year-old daughter Lupita (Dakota Fanning), an old friend and
former colleague (Christopher Walken) gets Creasy the job. So when "Pita" is
kidnapped, Creasy is determined to avenge the crime, ruthlessly blowing away
corrupt police officers, gangsters and everyone else who gets in his way,
telling a reporter (Rachel Ticotin): "I'm going to kill them all....Anybody
involved in it."
Riffing off Brian Helgeland's hard-boiled script, director Tony Scott
delivers a flashy orgy of torture, executions and explosions, hyped to-the-max
by Paul Cameron's frenzied camera work and Christian Wagner's nerve-racking
editing. The redeeming factor in this fracas is the tender relationship that's
been forged between Denzel Washington and cherubic Dakota Fanning, who views
her benefactor as "a big, unhappy bear." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10,
"Man on Fire" is a slick but self-indulgent 6. At nearly 2 1/2 hours, it's much
too long, considering that it's a re-make of "Man on Fire"(1987), starring
Scott Glenn, that runs at least an hour shorter.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
Buy movie posters!