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Man on Fire (2004)

  Directed by: Tony Scott
Written by: Brian Helgeland, A.J. Quinnell
Starring: Marc Anthony, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell, Denzel Washington
Links: Man on Fire on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Good up until the kidnapping" - a review by pearly

The location is Mexico, where kidnappings are commonplace. Samuel (Marc Anthony) and Lisa (Radha Mitchell) are trying to find a new bodyguard for their gorgeous daughter Pita (Dakota Fanning), and they come across Creasy (Denzel Washington), whose name is variously pronounced to rhyme with cheesey or faece, both of which are accurate descriptions of Washington's work in this film.

It's no great surprise that despite Creasy's best efforts, Pita is kidnapped about a third of the way into the film. This is a shame. Not because it's a stupid way for the story to go, because there's no other possible path it could have taken, but because it means that Fanning leaves the film. The reason this is a shame is because Fanning is the best thing about the film. As child actors go, this little thing is up there. She first caught my eye in her brilliant role in I Am Sam (2001), and while she's not as good in this as she was in that (the director seemed to be trying too hard to make her cute, when she was able to manage that without any effort whatsoever), she still lights up the screen. The pairing with Aussie gal Mitchell as the mother was nicely done too.

Washington, on the other hand, is just bland. The premise for his character is that he used to be in some sort of military job, so he knows what he's doing, but he's been on the booze a bit of late, and as such, he can't get himself a decent job. So, he does the best he can protecting Pita, but it's hard when he's sloshed all the time. And then, of course, when Pita gets taken, he has to avenge her death.

The plot is about as predictable and obvious as it's possible for a plot to be. Obviously Creasy is going to develop more affection for Pita than he would have liked to admit at first. Obviously Pita is going to be abducted. Obviously the plot will thicken. And so on. It's paint-by-the-numbers stuff.

What else can I say? Not much, really.

pearly gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 1 Sep 2004

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Reader comments

  1. You say Creasy rhymes with 'cheesy'? I say it sounded a lot like 'crazy' in the film, and I must agree with you that that was exactly the performance that Washington gave. I agree with you, once again, with the notion that Dakota Fanning is wonderful in the film, but I disagree with Radha Mitchell 'not doing a bad job' (maybe cos I can't get her performance from Pitch Black out of my mind) I just couldn't buy her as a mum. She seemed to be window dressing in a lot of the scenes.

    Denzel Washington, however, hmm.... I think he did the best job he could with the help given by the writers and directors. But I do believe that he was not the best choice for the role. I can't give you an example of who would be, but it wasn't him.

    I think the main reason why I didn't like this film, was the camerawork was so much like a documentary (hand held wonkiness) that it gave me a headache by the time I walked out.

    It was unlike anything I've ever seen, but it's also something I wouldn't like to see again.

    Rating given: 4

    A comment from moviegirl on Wed 01 Sep 2004 18:50 #

  2. wee

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from lil on Sat 28 Jan 2006 06:38 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 7.00 (2 ratings)

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