|Man On Fire DVD|
|Man on Fire (DVD, 2005, 2-Disc Set, Deluxe Edition) (DVD, 2005)|
|Man On Fire DVD Denzel Washington Christopher Walken Radha Mitchell|
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John Creasy (Denzel Washington) is a lost soul. A former government operative, he has become an alcoholic nomad, searching for inspiration and redemption. An old friend (Christopher Walken) who lives in Mexico gets Creasy a job as a bodyguard for nine-year-old Lupita "Pita" Ramos (Dakota Fanning), the daughter of Mexican Samuel (Marc Anthony) and his American wife Lisa (Radha Mitchell). Creasy's primary job is to protect Pita from the kidnapping attempts that are an increasing menace to the children of Mexico City's wealthy. A man of few words and many secrets, Creasy initially balks at Pita's attempts to befriend him, but soon a bond grows between the precocious child and this lonely man who is tormented by his past. When Pita is kidnapped despite Creasy's valiant attempts to save her, he will do anything to bring all of those involved to justice. His fury unravels a net of almost unimaginable corruption and greed in the process. Director Tony Scott (TOP GUN, CRIMSON TIDE) builds the relationship between Creasy and Pita in the first half of the film in order to justify Creasy's violent actions in the latter half, and in the process he does a fine job of keeping the film's tension consistently high.
Tony Scott's "Man on Fire" employs superb craftsmanship and a powerful Denzel Washington performance in an attempt to elevate genre material above its natural level, but it fails. The underlying story isn't worth the effort. At first we're seduced by the jagged photography and editing, which reminds us a little of "City of God" and "21 Grams." We're absorbed by Washington's character, an alcoholic with a past he cannot forgive himself for. And we believe the relationship he slowly develops with the young Mexico City girl he's hired to protect. But then the strong opening levels out into a long series of action scenes, and the double-reverse ending works more like a gimmick than a resolution.
The screenplay is by Brian Helgeland, whose work on "Mystic River" dealt with revenge in deep, painful personal terms. But this time action formulas take over. The hero outshoots and outsmarts half the bad guys in Mexico City. He seems to be homeless, yet has frequent changes of wardrobe and weaponry, even producing a shoulder-mounted missile launcher when necessary. And as he plows his way through the labyrinth of those responsible for kidnapping the girl, the body count becomes a little ridiculous, and Washington's character, who seemed very human, begins uncomfortably to resemble an invulnerable superhero. Sure, he gets shot now and again, but can you walk around Mexico City as an accused cop-killer and outgun professional killers indefinitely?
When it seems that everyone who could possibly be killed is dead and the movie must surely be over, there's another whole chapter. We count those still alive, and ask ourselves if the Law of Economy of Characters applies: That's the one that says a movie contains no unnecessary characters, and so the otherwise unexplained presence of a star in a seemingly insignificant role will be richly explained by the end.
All of this is true, and yet the movie has real qualities. Denzel Washington creates a believable, sympathetic character here -- a character complex enough to deserve more than fancy action scenes. Even the last scene involving his character is a disappointment; there's a moment when one thing and one thing only should happen to him, and it doesn't, and the movie lets him, and us, down gently.
Washington plays Creasy, whose resume includes anti-terrorism. He's fallen on hard times, drinks too much, and travels to Mexico for a reunion with his old military buddy Rayburn (Christopher Walken). "Do you think God will forgive us for what we've done?" Creasy asks Rayburn. "No," says Rayburn. "Me neither," says Creasy.
Rayburn has a job for him: acting as a bodyguard for Mexico City industrialist Samuel Ramos (Marc Anthony), his American wife Lisa (Radha Mitchell) and their daughter Pita (Dakota Fanning). At the job interview, Creasy is frank about himself: "I drink." Ramos is able to live with this information, but advises Creasy to tell nobody, especially Mrs. Ramos. As we think back over the film, this conversation will take on added importance.
Creasy keeps his distance on the job. Pita wants to be his friend; he explains he was hired as a bodyguard, not a friend. But eventually he bottoms out in his despair, begins to love the little girl, and becomes her swimming coach, Marine-style. These scenes have a real resonance. After she is kidnapped, the movie goes through the standard routine...anywho.. give it a look and I think you will agree that it's pretty good.
I went into this movie with no expectations other than it has Denzel Washington as the lead actor (playing Creasy) and, for that reason, it has to be at least decent, right? Other than Denzel's role - I knew nothing about the film. What resulted blew my mind - "Man on Fire" is a brilliant mix of thriller, drama, and action... I had a such a good time with the movie that I was upset when it ended. I was also upset that its theater presence was short lived and I didn't get a chance to see it on a large screen (but I guess my 50" tube will do!).
Denzel plays Creasy - a bodyguard assigned to protect the daughter (played by Dakota Fanning) of an elite American family living in Mexico. Denzel does so perfectly - evoking similarities to "Training Day". Along the way, Denzel and Dakota become close friends and, as he becomes a father figure to her, he also learns about himself and his weakness - when Dakota is kidnapped by bandits seeking ransom, Denzel becomes turns to vigilante seeking safety for the one person he loves.
What's so surprising about this film is the intellect with which it was written and directed. This movie could have easily been turned into a Bond-like movie - big action, big thrills. But while it combines action and thrills, the heart of the movie is in the acting, screenplay and cinematography. The movie is brilliantly put together and pleasure to watch. Visually it is stunningly put together.
While this movie isn't Oscar-worthy, its very well put together and visually stunning. Director Tony Scott does a fine job merging action with artistry and the result is enjoyable to watch.
Jaded ex-CIA operative John Creasy reluctantly accepts a job as the bodyguard for a 10-year-old girl in Mexico City. They clash at first, but eventually bond, and when she's kidnapped he's consumed by fury and will stop at nothing to save her life. A thriller about a demoralized soul whose sense of purpose is reawakened by a human connection.
Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning
A huge Washington fan, I thought the guy had done supberb acting and then
"Man on Fire" was released. All actors/actresses that are truly great and
fall in the league with the like's of Denzel Washington, have scores of films,
awards, and arena's of fans. Not all of them have a signature movie, that
outshines the actor himself. Man on Fire does just this, depicting a low esteem
burnt out single man, who has so very little "life", love or joy. No family
or even motivation, ambition, or for that matter, for one fairly young, does
it seem to matter to him. However, he does reluctantly accept an assignment
from a friend, who is worried about his soullessness. His job, to be a bodyguard in Mexico, for a 6 year old absolutely darling little girl, whose
mother (american) and father are amoung the wealthy, who have had a number of
abductions in this country of offspring, by mob for large ransom. The children
are rarely found alive, if so, often missing an ear. Terrorized these parents
take action as their peers. They hire a bodyguard, who shows up, to their
estate, showing little emotion, but, shows absoulute commitment to duty.
However, Denzel's character, long into a mode of closing out others, with
barriers, already well in place, is no match for the lively and unconditional
love of a little girls' wide eyed innocents. Her dauntless spirit grabs the
audience and quickly the brick wall crumbles that Washington has hidden behind
for a decade. When the mob does kidnap this little one, the father in Denzel,
seems to set this actor on fire. This is the finest acting ever from such a
gifted and versitile actor, surely one of centuries' best. The ending, is
inconceivable, and demonstrative of what love won't do. This isn't just a
good movie. Rather, Man on Fire is as the Mona Lisa, or Cisten Chapel. Man on
Fire: The canvas, film; the master piece, art by Denzel Washington, with a
meaningful take away principle of truth which will out live the actor.