Man on Fire (2004)

Friday, October 19, 2007
Basic plot: Hard-drinking, burnt-out ex-CIA operative John Creasy has given up on life--until his friend Rayburn gets him a job as a bodyguard to nine-year-old Pita Ramos. Bit by bit, Creasy begins to reclaim his soul, but when Pita is kidnapped, Creasy unleashes a firestorm of apocalyptic vengeance against everyone responsible. Thanks to Amazon for the quick write up.

Despite my revulsion at the mere mention of Dakota Fanning (I find her highly annoying), I'll admit she's quite the good actress despite her young age. Mickey Rourke, Marc Anthony (shockingly), and Christopher Walken were all fabulous as well. And yes, that's Mr. Jennifer Lopez... While the story kept me interested, I had trouble buying Denzel Washington as the bodyguard with the dark past. Both he and Fanning played off each other well and you felt yourself becoming closer to each of them as they became closer to each other. However, whenever he wasn't bantering back and forth with her (and her way more than 20 questions), he was completely unbelievable. And talk about overacting. I've never liked him. Not even in Glory.

It's hard to determine though if the problems with Washington's performance are his own or that of Tony Scott. As the reviewer from Amazon wrote, the movie is "style over substance". Fancy camera angles, dramatic close ups, and "artistic" lighting seemed to take preference over the telling of what was an engaging story. And this movie was LONG. We're talking 2 1/2 hours long. This could easily have been told in 90 minutes.

I have to say that I had my reservations about this movie. I remember seeing the previews and thinking...not much, to be honest. However, mom had wanted to see it and while we didn't use it as for one of our Dinner and a Movie nights, I decided to watch it anyways. Might as well, I paid for it, right? Surprisingly, and despite all my bitching above, it wasn't half bad. If you're a fan of Washington or Fanning, rent it. But keep your eyes on the rest of the cast who frankly are far better. Personally I was expecting non-stop action. If you are too, give it a pass. It's a decent story but poorly told. If I had to rate it on a scale, I'd give it two jolly rogers out of a possible 5.


Gardenia said...

I enjoyed that movie - I've always been impressed with Dakota Fanning after the movie where her father turned out to be a MPD, one of those personalities being terribly dangerous - dang, can't rmember the name.

The story line in Man on Fire was good - - - at least I remembered seeing the movie so it made some impression, ha ha.

* (asterisk) said...

Of course, if you'd stopped by at my handy Movie Reviews site, you'd have known not to bother (imho)! Shame really: it seemed so promising. I'm fast losing patience with Tony Scott.

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