Man on Fire / L'Homme en Feu (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
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Style trumps substance in Man on Fire, a slick, brooding reunion of Crimson Tide star Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott. The ominous, crime-ridden setting is Mexico City, where a dour, alcoholic warrior with a mysterious Black Ops past (Washington) seeks redemption as the devoted bodyguard of a lovable 9-year-old girl (the precociously gifted Dakota Fanning), then responds with predictable fury when she is kidnapped and presumably killed. Prolific screenwriter Brian Helgeland (Mystic River, L.A. Confidential) sets a solid emotional foundation for Washington's tormented character, and Scott's stylistic excess compensates for a distended plot that's both repellently violent and viscerally absorbing. Among Scott's more distracting techniques is the use of free-roaming, comic-bookish subtitles... even when they're unnecessary! Adapted from a novel by A.J. Quinnell and previously filmed as a 1987 vehicle for Scott Glenn, Man on Fire is roughly on par with Scott's similar 1990 film Revenge, efficiently satisfying Washington's incendiary bloodlust under a heavy blanket of humid, doom-laden atmosphere. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Two-time ACADEMY AWARDS® Winner Denzel Washington ignites a masterpiece of mayhem in this 'powerful' action thriller. [Los Angeles Times] Hard-drinking, burned-out CIA operative John W. Creasy [Denzel Washington] has given up on life ' until his friend Rayburn [Christopher Walken OSCAR® Winner] gets him a job as a bodyguard to a nine-year old Pita Ramos [Dakota Fanning]. Bit by bit, John Creasy begins to reclaim his soul, but when Pita Ramos is kidnapped, John Creasy fiery rage is released and he will stop at nothing to save her.
FILM FACT: The real John W. Creasy, is a former CIA operative and former Force Recon Marine officer and now a mercenary. Daniel Rosas Sánchez "The Voice" is based on a real kidnapper, Daniel Arizmendi López. Just like the real Arizmendi López, "La Voz" believes in Santa Muerte. Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Spanish for Holy Death), is a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.Read more ›
...IT IS MY JOB TO ARRANGE THE MEETING.
Somehow when Denzel Washington says this line it is not as convincing as maybe Van Diesel. Washington and Dakota Fanning did their expected wonderful job, but the ending was all wrong for the movie.
The movie starts out slow. Washington plays a Jack Daniels guzzling former CIA agent who reads the Bible. His partner, Christopher Walken, lands him a job guarding Dakota Fanning (Pita). Early in the movie we find out every rich person in Mexico hires a body guard, then gets kidnapping insurance from AIG for 10 million dollars, which the kidnappers know about. This sets you up for the expected plot twists which were not terrific.
Denzel doesn't want to get friendly with Dakota, but ends up becoming her friend, father, swimming coach, chauffeur, etc. etc. Dakota Fanning gets kidnapped (box information). Denzel uses his CIA "walking tall" methods to go after the bad guys, which includes half of Mexico. The substandard script, slow beginning, and questionable ending took away from the production.
The ending should have included a dramatic escape by Fanning involving her ability to swim as the movie centered so much on this aspect of her life.
Just recently saw the book in my Dads collection of 20 years ago and read it. Thought the book was amazing. Its a little different than the movie, but just a superb book and movie.
Cant wait to get my hands on the DVD !!!
The location switch from Italy to Mexico works well. Of course, we miss out on the Isle of Gozo. As with most novel-to-cinema adaptions, we miss out on a lot of subplot (Creasy's women). And as is inevitable with a major studio production, the ending has been "Hollywood-ized." (can't tell you more without giving away the ending... read the book).
However, Denzel Washington does an excellent job portraying the character Creasy, as I knew he would. Dakota Fanning is Pinta, no question about it. Christopher Walken, always a good choice, was an excellent casting choice here. A.J. Quinnell would be proud. Marc Anthony...? Well, A.J. Quinnell would understand.
GO SEE THIS
Most recent customer reviews
The story line is generally as expected and, although some of the action is a bit over the top, the actors carry it off well with Washington doing what he does best.Published 7 months ago by Michael B. Neuman
Wife loves this one. Was upset when our first one disappeared. Had to purchase this one.Published 12 months ago by Rocky Jaworenko